The USS Delta (AK-29/AR-9), the lead ship of its class of repair ships in the United States Navy during World War II, was built in 1941 as the Hawaiian Packer by Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia, one of four Type C3 ships ordered by the Matson Navigation Company; launched on 2 April 1941; and commissioned as USS Delta (AK-29) on 16 June 1941, with Commander C. D. Headee in command. It was originally built as the merchant ship SS Hawaiian Packer before its requisition by the U.S. Navy in 1941. The USS Delta (AK-29/AR-9) received two battle stars for World War II service, one battle star for Korean War service, and one campaign star for Vietnam War service. For more than 40 years, asbestos was utilized in virtually every ship constructed by the United States Navy. Those serving aboard Navy ships were at greater risk of inhaling fibers due to lack of proper air circulation and tight quarters. These fibers get lodged in the lining of the lungs (pleura), the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum), or other areas of the body, such as the lungs themselves. As a result, veterans may develop mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related diseases later in life.