The USS General H. W. Butner (AP-113), a troopship that served with the United States Navy in World War II and the Korean War, was launched by the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Company of Kearny, New Jersey, on 19 September 1943 under Maritime Commission contract for the Army. The ship was acquired by the Navy on 5 December 1943, placed in ferry commission the same day for the transfer to the Maryland Drydock Company of Baltimore, for conversion to a troop transport; and placed in full commission 11 January 1944, with Captain A. P. Lawton in command. Several decades ago, all branches of the military relied heavily on the mineral asbestos for its capacity to insulate and fireproof military vehicles, structures, and equipment. Asbestos was extensively utilized throughout World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War in the construction and development of ships, tanks, airplanes, structures, and vehicles. When asbestos-containing materials tear, peel, or break apart, minute asbestos fibers may readily become airborne. These fibers may be inhaled or ingested and then become lodged into the lining of the lungs or other internal organs. Prolonged exposure to asbestos may result in lung cancer, mesothelioma, or other asbestos-related illnesses.