Built by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in 1944, the USNS Aiken Victory was a ship responsible for transporting troops during World War II and the Korean War. The ship was also responsible for carrying cargo to the troops serving in the Asian-Pacific Theatre. Because of the extraordinary activity it performed during the Korean War, the USNS Aiken Victory received eight battle stars, as well as the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, and the United Nations Service Medal. In 1971, the ship was sold for scrap to American Ship Dismantlers, Inc.
Since asbestos was a very popular construction material during the last century, it was present in tremendous amounts aboard the ship, a fact that endangered the health of the military personnel present onboard. Occurring when one inhales or ingests asbestos fibers, asbestos exposure can lead to serious diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma within 20 to 50 years. For this reason, veterans who served on the USNS Aiken Victory should undergo periodical medical examinations to timely find out about a potential disease they may have developed.
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