The USS Appalachian (AGC-1), the lead ship of the Appalachian class amphibious force flagships of the United States Navy, was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 200) on 4 November 1942 at the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Company in Kearny, New Jersey; launched on 29 January 1943, sponsored by Mrs. John Frank Mclnnis; acquired by the Navy on 27 February 1943; converted at Brooklyn, N.Y., by the Todd Shipbuilding Company for naval service as an amphibious flagship; and commissioned on 2 October 1943, with Captain James M. Fernald in command. It was decommissioned there on 21 May 1947 and placed in reserve. Even though the use of asbestos stopped in the 1970s, the toxic substance continues to impact many Navy veterans today. Once inhaled, the fibers of asbestos are absorbed into the lining of the person’s lungs where a malignant tumor forms. The victim may be unaware that he/she has developed asbestos-related lung cancer for as long as twenty to fifty years until symptoms like difficulty breathing, hoarseness, chest pain, and fatigue begin to appear.