The USS Bandera, named after the Bandera County of Texas, was built in 1944 under a Maritime Commission contract by the California Shipbuilding Corporation. It was sponsored by Mrs. Elmer P. Abernethy and acquired by the U.S. Navy at the end of the year. The Victory ship served as a Haskell-class attack transport vessel during World War II, participating in tactical and amphibious training.
Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, is highly carcinogenic to humans, which did not prevent the U.S. Navy from employing it in tremendous amounts before 1980 when proper regulations concerning asbestos use took effect. Thereby, everyone who was present aboard the USS Bandera was exposed to asbestos to a certain extent, which now places veterans at high risk of receiving a terrible diagnosis, such as lung cancer. The USS Bandera was eventually sold for scrap in 1974 to the Consolidated Steel Corporation.