The USS Edwards (DD-619), a Gleaves-class destroyer of the United States Navy, was launched on 19 July 1942 by Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Kearny, New Jersey; sponsored by Mrs. Edward Brayton, widow of Lieutenant Commander Edwards. The ship was commissioned on 18 September 1942, with Lieutenant Commander William Leroy Messmer in command. The ship sailed from New York on 8 November 1942 to join the Pacific Fleet. It joined Task Force 18 (TF 18) at Nouméa on 4 January 1943, to cover a large troop convoy bound for Guadalcanal. Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 July 1971, the USS Edwards (DD-619) was sold on 25 May 1973. For many years, the military relied heavily on asbestos, the versatile mineral that could strengthen and help fireproof almost everything. Navy members in particular faced a high level of exposure back in the day, being around asbestos on a regular basis. During World War II, asbestos exposure was high because the mineral use in shipbuilding was extensive. With so many potential sources of asbestos exposure in the Navy, it’s not surprising to see that the rates of asbestos-related illnesses are disproportionately high among Navy veterans.