Built as the SS Kingsport Victory, the ship was renamed when it was transferred from the U.S. Army to the U.S. Navy. It was laid down by the California Shipbuilding Company in 1944 under the Emergency Shipbuilding program and was sponsored by Mrs. George O’Brien. During World War II, the USNS Kingsport was a cargo ship that carried supplies to the people who were fighting in the Pacific War. In 1992, the ship was withdrawn from the reserve fleet and eventually scrapped in India.
Asbestos exposure was high among the military personnel who served on it, as the ship was laden with the carcinogenic mineral, primarily in the form of construction materials. Over time, asbestos products become friable, thereby releasing toxic fibers into the air. Additionally, a large number of the people serving aboard the USNS Kingsport worked directly with asbestos, as they had to maintain, repair, and replace hazardous products. Unfortunately, when the Navy issued a policy against using asbestos in ships in 1975, it was already too late for many veterans that had already been exposed to the cancer-causing material by that point.