The USS Duluth (LPD-6), an Austin-class amphibious transport dock, was laid down on 18 December 1963 by the New York Naval Shipyard; launched on 14 August 1965; and commissioned on 18 December 1965. It was the last ship to be launched from the Brooklyn Navy Yard before it was closed. In April 1966, the ship departed Brooklyn Naval Shipyard for the US Naval Shipyard Philadelphia for final fitting out, refresher training, and passage to its homeport of US Naval Station San Diego. In April 1967, the ship sailed from Hawaii to Australia to join the 7th Fleet's Amphibious Ready Group. Asbestos was included in more than 300 items used in the shipbuilding process. Everything from sleeping quarters to mess halls to boiler rooms has asbestos-containing materials. When someone works on a ship that was built with asbestos components, they inhale asbestos fibers. These fibers get embedded in the layer of tissue that surrounds the lungs, causing life-threatening diseases. After 1980, the Navy began to actively dismantle asbestos insulation from its ships' engine rooms, pipes, and firewalls. However, Vietnam-period veterans who were assigned to work on older transport vessels were not immune to asbestos exposure, despite the fact that the level of risk was considerably lower than in the WWII era.