The USS Fitch (DD-462/DMS-25), a Gleaves-class destroyer of the United States Navy, was launched on 14 June 1941 by Boston Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. H. W. Thomas; and commissioned on 3 February 1942, with Lieutenant Commander Henry Crommelin in command. From 1 July to 5 August 1942, the ship's first mission was to escort the aircraft carrier Ranger to a location off the Gold Coast, where the carrier sent off United States Army Air Forces planes bound for Accra. The USS Fitch (DD-462/DMS-25) was decommissioned at Charleston on 24 February 1956 and placed in reserve. The hazards of asbestos are now much well known, but between World War II and the late-1970s, it was lauded for its numerous virtues and was widely utilized. Initially praised as an excellent material for building and construction, protective clothing, and friction-creating equipment, asbestos was easily utilized for the exceptionally high heat resistant protection it offers, and was placed as insulation for the shipbuilding industry. As medical records demonstrate, when asbestos particles are inhaled or ingested, they get lodged within the human body, most frequently around the lungs, abdomen, and heart, causing irritation until they reach a point where they may grow into malignant tumors.