The USS Betelgeuse was an Arcturus-class attack cargo ship laid down on March 9, 1939, and launched on September 18 the same year with the hull number AKA-11. It was commissioned on June 14, 1941, under Comdr. Harry D. Power, and served in the US Navy for 5 years until it was decommissioned on March 15, 1946. It carried a complement of 267 men on board. During this period, the ship operated in the South Pacific and the Mediterranean. It was sold for scrapping in 1972. For the services brought to the country during World War II, the USS Betelgeuse received 6 battle stars. Asbestos was used in this vessel's construction as it had great insulation capacities and resistance. All the sectors of the ship contained asbestos, the engine room, the boiler room, the compartments beneath the deck, and the piping system. However, asbestos was highly detrimental to human health. The crewmembers who served aboard Navy ships such as the USS Betelgeuse could have easily inhaled toxic asbestos fibers. As a result, many of them developed severe lung conditions such as asbestosis, pleural plaques, or mesothelioma.