The USS Draco (AK-79) was a Crater-class cargo ship that served the US Navy in World War II. Laid down in December 1942 as SS John M. Palmer by Permanente Metals Corporation and commissioned in February the next year, this ship’s mission was to deliver goods and equipment to war zone locations such as Nouméa, Espiritu Santo, Guadalcanal, and Fiji Islands. The USS Draco also aided in the invasions of Cape Torokina, Bougainville, and Emirau, receiving 2 battle stars in the process. The USS Draco was decommissioned in November 1945 and entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Virginia. Starting with 1947, the vessel was sold and renamed several times, until 1968 when it was sold for scrapping in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Unfortunately, as all U.S. Navy ships constructed prior-to the 1980s, the USS Draco was laden with asbestos-containing materials. The prolonged exposure to asbestos dust from these materials put veterans at a high risk of developing mesothelioma and other serious asbestos-related conditions.