The USS Alkes was a cargo ship belonging to the Crater-class. This ship took part in the battles of World War II and it also served in different other missions. It won 3 battle stars for its service. The USS Alkes fulfilled different duties; it carried troops, it carried goods and it also delivered equipment in different combat areas. This vessel was laid down by the Permanente Metals Corporation in 1943 at Richmond, California. It was commissioned the same year, in October, under Commander William H. Wight. Some of the locations where the USS Alkes served are Pearl Harbor, the Gilbert Islands, the Marshall Islands, Guam, Ulithi. The USS Alkes was decommissioned in 1946. The vessel was then laid up in the reserve at Lee Hall, Virginia.
Being among the vessels built prior to the 1980s, before the dangers of asbestos exposure were widely known, the USS Alkes was laden with asbestos-containing materials. More than 300 such materials were used and asbestos was found everywhere on the ship, from bow to stern. This put veterans at risk for mesothelioma and other serious respiratory illnesses.