The USS Farragut (DD-348), the lead ship of its class of destroyers in the United States Navy, was laid down by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation's Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts. Due to the fact that it had been almost 14 years since the US Navy had commissioned a new destroyer, the destroyer dedicated much of its early duty to experimental operations, sailing from her homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, through the Caribbean and along the east coast. The ship was decommissioned on 23 October 1945, stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 28 January 1947 and sold for scrap on 14 August 1947. It received 14 battle stars for World War II service. During their service, many former members of the United States Navy were exposed to significant amounts of asbestos, which was used in the construction of the majority of Navy ships before 1980. Asbestos was employed by the Navy because it was inexpensive, had high tensile strength, and was extremely resistant to heat and chemical damage. As a result of these characteristics, asbestos was an excellent insulator and fire-retardant material.