Laid down by the California Shipbuilding Corporation in 1944 and subsequently acquired by the U.S. Navy, the ship was built under a Maritime Commission contract. It served during World War II, activity for which it earned one battle star. The USS Bowie was sponsored by Mrs. J. Shaw and commissioned at the end of the year.
Since asbestos was a highly prevalent material in the military during the last century, there were over 300 different hazardous products aboard the ship, which inevitably led to heavy exposure in those present on the USS Bowie. For this reason, veterans who served on this ship need to undergo regular medical examination, as they are at great risk for developing a serious disease as a result of asbestos exposure, such as asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma. In 1973, the ship was sold for scrap to the Union Minerals and Alloys Corporation in New York.