The USS Altamaha (CVE-6) was an Attacker-class escort carrier laid down on April 15, 1941, and launched on April 4, 1942. It was commissioned on November 15, 1942, as HMS Battler with the hull number D-18 under the United Kingdom’s flag and served in the Royal Navy for 4 years until it was decommissioned on February 12, 1946. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 646 men on board and had its main missions in Gibraltar, Malta, Salerno, Palermo, Suez, Aden, Cochin, Bombay, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles or Sydney. After the decommissioning, the ship was transferred back to the USA, struck from the Navy Register on March 28, 1946, and sold for scrapping in May the same year.
During the period from 1930 through 1960, researchers identified a health risk associated with working with particular types of asbestos in certain occupations and at certain levels of exposure. The Navy, in particular, because of the massive effort to build new ships for WW II, and then during the decommissioning process following the war, had to purchase and install millions of tons of asbestos insulation.