Having received numerous awards, including the Navy Unit Commendation, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, as well as 4 battle stars, the USS Croaker (SS-246) was built in 1943 by General Dynamics Electric Boat. It sunk several enemy ships weighing a total of 19,710 tons and in 2008, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While having enjoyed a glorious past, the submarine was built with asbestos insulation, which put the health of the people serving on it at great risk. At the moment, the vessel can be found in Buffalo, New York as a museum ship.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, widely used in everything from insulation purposes and anti-condensation and acoustic control. When observed under a microscope, its needle-like fibers are clearly visible. If someone is near asbestos and inhales these fibers, they lodge in the inner lung tissue, which causes inflammation and scarring in that area. That in turn, leads to genetic changes that can lead to cancer over time.