The Provo was initially built as a Victory ship throughout spring 1945 by the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation. She served with the merchant marine – the branch of service who suffered proportionally the biggest casualties during the war – and was acquired by the Military Sea Transportation Service in March 1963, re-baptized as Provo, and designated as a Special Project Ship (Pheonix class). Her task was a lot more mundane than it sounds. She was basically a floating depot, placed off the coast of the Philippines to provide military material for contingencies, which she did in 1964 for operation “Quick Release”. During the American phase of the Indochina war she acted as a point to point cargo carrier, making deliveries from Japan and Subic Bay to Vietnam. The Provo will be sold in August 1973, at which point her history becomes uncertain.
Like with all Victory ships, asbestos was heavily used throughout the ships construction, and her maintenance crews could have inhaled the toxic vapors while handling this mineral.