The USS Camel (IX-113), an Armadillo-class tanker was launched as William H. Carruth under a Maritime Commission contract on October 31, 1943, by California Shipbuilding Corporation, Wilmington, California. These ships were equipped with parts containing asbestos, a carcinogenic material. The ship was acquired by the US Navy on November 22, 1943, and commissioned under the command of Lieutenant D. Dunham, Jr., USNR. The USS Camel (IX-113) participated in the Okinawa Gunto operation during World War II and earned one battle star for the service. The ship was deactivated on May 24, 1963, after a series of transfers to various companies and was laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Olympia, WA. For most of the twentieth century, asbestos was a prominent building material in shipyards. From the 1940s through the 1970s, asbestos was used in almost every element of shipbuilding. Asbestos was formerly considered an excellent shipbuilding material due to its fire and corrosion resistance. It was utilized to insulate the ship's hulls, pipelines, incinerators, and boilers, as well as in materials like gaskets, valves, and cement.