The USS Alhena (AKA-9) was an Arcturus-class attack cargo ship laid down on June 19, 1940, and launched on January 18 the next year with the hull number AKA-9. It was commissioned on June 15, 1941, under Comdr. Charles B. Hunt’s command and served in the US Navy for 5 years until it was decommissioned the first time on May 22, 1946. It carried a complement of 446 men on board. During this period, the ship operated in Boston, Norfolk, Nova Scotia, Belfast and Tonga Islands, Fiji Islands, New Hebrides, Efate and Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. It was struck from the Navy Register on August 15, 1946. For the services brought to the country during World War II, the USS Alhena received 5 battle stars. Asbestos, a material once extensively used for its practical properties, convenient cost, and accessibility in nearly all types of military transportation — especially Navy ships, is now recognized as a carcinogen responsible for devastating lung diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Navy personnel involved in the renovation and repair processes and who directly handled asbestos-based products used on Navy ships were the ‘first wave’ of asbestos-related disease sufferers.