The USS Block Island (CVE-21/AVG-21/ACV-21) was a Bogue-class escort aircraft carrier laid down on January 19, 1942, and launched on May 1, the same year. It was commissioned on March 8, 1943 with the hull number CVE-21 under Capt. Logan C. Ramsey’s command and served in the US Navy for 1 year until it was sunk on May 29, 1944. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 890 men on board and had its main missions in San Diego, Norfolk, New York, and the Canary Islands. For the services brought to the country during World War II, the USS Block Island received 2 battle stars.
Mandated into use by all military branches, asbestos was especially popular with the Navy for its unique heat-resistance properties, since seagoing vessels contained engines and boiler rooms and other below-deck areas that generated high temperatures. However, whether they operated above or below deck Navy personnel suffered from daily asbestos exposure.