The USS DeLong (DE-684) was a Rudderow-class destroyer escort laid down on October 19, 1943, and launched on November 23, the same year. It was commissioned on December 31, 1943, under Lt. Comdr. R. C. Houston’s command as DE-684 and served in the U.S. Navy for 19 years until it was decommissioned on August 1, 1962. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 186 people on board and had its main missions in Guadalcanal, Green Cove Springs, Key West, Newport, and the Bronx. After decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on August 8, 1969, and sunk as a target in 1970 during training exercises. For the services brought to the country during World War II, the USS DeLong received one bronze service star. Before the health risks of asbestos exposure were widely known, the hazardous mineral was incorporated in operating machinery and equipment that kept the ships seaworthy. Navy personnel shared poorly-ventilated eating and sleeping quarters with other workers aboard ship, breathing the same recirculated air on the lower decks where aging, asbestos-wrapped steam pipes, walls, insulated boiler rooms and munition bays released microscopic asbestos fibers into the air with every shudder of the ship’s propellers.