The USS Gearing (DD-710), the lead ship of its class of destroyers in the United States Navy, was launched on 18 February 1945 by the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Kearny, New Jersey. Following operations in the Caribbean and North Atlantic in the spring and summer of 1964, the ship entered the Mediterranean on 4 October to rejoin the 6th Fleet. After returning home early in 1965, it continued operating in the Atlantic Fleet into 1967. Asbestos was used as a fire retardant material in vast quantities during the 1930s and 1980s. It is unfortunately all too common that Navy veterans who have been exposed to asbestos during their active duty typically put their symptoms down to natural aging as these symptoms can take between 10 and 50 years to present themselves. Symptoms of asbestos exposure typically include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, extreme tiredness, all of which are commonly linked to natural aging however where there has been a history of previous asbestos exposure it is essential to check whether these symptoms are related to the asbestos as soon as possible.