Named SS Stevens Victory at the date of her launch in spring 1945, the USNS Private Joe P. Martinez is one of the 84 Boulder Victory ships to be converted into troop transports by the United States Maritime Commission. This was seen as necessary for the double purpose of getting American soldiers out of Europe and supporting the planned invasion of Japan. Although this never occurred, the Joe P. Martinez was to see action during the Korean War, ferrying troops between the US West Coast and Korean ports as well as Okinawa. She didn’t get to see the end of the war, being laid up in September 1952 at Olympia as part of the National Reserve Fleet. The ship is finally struck in 1970 but her subsequent fate remains unknown.
Like with all Victory ships, asbestos was heavily used in her construction; arguably present in all areas of the ship. The pipes that ran throughout her length were covered in asbestos and tar lining. This often developed cracks with time, releasing toxic fibers into the air.