The USS Belle Isle (AG-73) was a miscellaneous auxiliary ship belonging to the Basilan-class, operated by the US Navy during World War II. The ship was built in South Portland, Maine by the New England Shipbuilding Co. in September 1944 and launched in November the same year. It was transferred to the Navy and converted to a repair ship soon after the launch. After its conversion, the USS Belle Isle served at Okinawa assisting ships with repairs in the Pacific, and then sailed for Wakayama to carry out its repairing duties until March 1946. In 1951, the vessel went through another conversion and redesigned as a store issue ship. It was used as a target ship and sunk by the Destroyer Squadron 13 on the coast of San Diego. Exposure to asbestos can result in a variety of severe diseases that cause great suffering - many of which, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis, can lie dormant for 20 or more years before symptoms appear. The risk of these diseases increases with the level of asbestos exposure. Therefore a Navy veteran who has been exposed to a high level of asbestos and is a smoker has more than double risk of being diagnosed with one of the above-mentioned diseases.