Laid down in 1942, the USS Bashaw won 5 battle stars for World War II activity. The submarine was launched on 25 July 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Florence Ives, wife of Captain Norman S. Ives (killed 2 August 1944 near Dol-en-Bretagne, France commanding a naval patrol), and commissioned on 25 October 1943, Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Nichols in command. It was built by General Dynamics Electric Boat during a time when asbestos was widely employed in shipbuilding. In 1969, the submarine was decommissioned and subsequently sold for scrap or sunk as a target.
Asbestos is a mineral with fine fibers shaped like needles that are so tiny that people usually cannot see them. If asbestos materials are ripped or otherwise damaged, these fine needle-like fibers are sent into the air. Once inhaled, these fibers can lodge in the lungs and cause irreversible damage. Asbestos-related diseases do not show up for 10-40 years after exposure, which can make it difficult for victims to pursue claims.