The USS Aaron Ward (DD-773/DM-34) was an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer laid down on December 12, 1943, and launched on May 5, the following year. It was commissioned on October 28, 1944, under Comdr. William H. Sanders’ command with the hull number DD-34 and served in the US Navy for 1 year until it was decommissioned on September 28, 1945. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 363 people on board and had its main missions in California, Pearl Harbor, Ulithi, Okinawa, Saipan, San Pedro, and Guam. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Naval Register and sold for scrapping a year later.
Asbestos exposure tended to mostly involve naval veterans serving aboard vessels fitted out with the deadly fiber insulation. The hazardous mineral was used to insulate boilers, hot steam pipes, fuel lines to pumps, turbines, compressors, condensers, and to form gaskets for exhaust systems, connectors, and manifolds. Serviceman aboard Navy vessels often slept in bunks positioned below asbestos-covered pipes, and many veterans recall regularly shaking off the asbestos dust when they awoke.