The USS Austin (DE-15) was an Evarts-class destroyer escort laid down on March 14, 1942, and launched on September 25, the same year. It was commissioned on February 13, 1943, under Lt. Comdr. H. G. Claudius’ command with the hull number DE-15 and served in the U.S. Navy for 2 years until it was decommissioned on December 21, 1945. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 198 people on board and had its main missions in San Diego, Alaska, Pearl Harbor, San Francisco, Eniwetok, Okinawa, Ulithi, San Pedro, Iwo Jima, and Saipan. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on January 8, 1946, and sold for scrapping in 1947. Its insulating and fire-resistant qualities and affordability made asbestos an ideal material for use in the shipbuilding industry until it was phased out in the 1970s. Known as the "miracle mineral", asbestos was used in any material with a risk of overheating or catching fire from electrical wires to ceiling tiles. Military veterans are one of the largest groups affected by asbestos exposure. Asbestos was especially suitable for use in naval vessels due to the mineral’s affordability.