Formerly known as the SS Dalton Victory, the ship was laid down by the California Shipbuilding Company in Los Angeles in 1944, under the Emergency Shipbuilding Program. It was transferred to the U.S. Navy in 1950 and served as a cargo ship. The USNS Dalton Victory was operated by Sudden Christenson Inc. between 1944 and 1946 and by Moore McCormack Lines Inc. between 1946 and 1947. It served in the Pacific Ocean during World War II as a U.S. Merchant Marine ship. In 1947, the USNS Dalton Victory was placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet. The USNS Dalton Victory was sold for scrapping to the National Metal Steel Corp. in 1975.
Due to the tremendous number of asbestos products that were present on it, exposure occurred to a great extent on the USNS Dalton Victory. By inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers that became airborne, the military personnel aboard the ship would unknowingly have their lives endangered. As a consequence, many of them came to suffer from terrible diseases such as lung cancer or mesothelioma several decades following asbestos exposure.