The USS De Grasse (AK-223) was a cargo ship launched in February 1943 as liberty ship SS Nathaniel J. Wyeth by the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation in Portland Oregon under a MARCOM contract. The ship’s first mission was carrying troops and cargo from Port Hueneme, California to Pearl Harbor. The USS De Grasse also helped in the invasion of the Marianas in June and July 1944. Starting with 1945 the vessel carried troops from Eniwetok, Guam, Saipan, and Majuro to Ulithi which was a staging point for the Okinawa operation. After the war, the USS De Grasse was assigned to Operation Magic Carpet duty and decommissioned in March 1946. The ship received 3 battle stars during World War II. People who served on the USS De Grasse were all exposed to asbestos during their service. As all ships from her time, the USS De Grasse was mainly built with asbestos-containing materials. Before the dangers of asbestos exposure became largely known the toxic material was used in nearly every part of each Navy ship, due to its affordability, tensile strength and resistance to heat and chemical damage. This placed veterans at high risk for later developing mesothelioma and other serious respiratory illnesses.