The USS Alnitah was a cargo ship belonging to the Crater-class category. It served the US Navy during the Second World War. In 1943, the USS Alnitah was commissioned under the command of Ernest J. Youngjohns. The vessel’s first mission was to deliver cargo in the South Pacific. Some of the places where the Alnitah was deployed during its years of service include Espiritu Santo, the Solomon Islands, the Treasury Islands, New Zeeland, New Caledonia, New Guinea, the Caroline Islands, New Hebrides, Guam, Fiji Islands, Auckland. The Alnitah was decommissioned in 1946 and then sent to the War Shipping Administration in Yokohama. Finally, the vessel was sent to the National Defense Reserve Fleet in Astoria, Oregon.
Prior to the 1980s, before the dangers of asbestos were widely known, more than 300 asbestos products were used on U.S. Navy ships. Unfortunately, when the Navy issued a policy against using asbestos in ships in 1975, it was already too late for many veterans that have already been exposed to the toxic material and later developed mesothelioma and other serious respiratory illnesses.