The USS Harry F. Bauer (DD-738/DM-26/MMD-26) was a Robert H. Smith-class destroyer minelayer launched on July 9, 1944, as DD-738 and converted in DM-26 the same year. It was commissioned on September 22, 1944, under Comdr. Richard Claggett Williams’ command and served in the US Navy for 12 years until it was decommissioned on March 12, 1956. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 363 people on board and had its main missions in Bermuda, Norfolk, San Diego, Pearl Harbor, Ulithi, Okinawa, and Sasebo. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on August 15, 1971. For the services brought to the country during World War II, the USS Harry F. Bauer received 4 battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation. Navy service members discharged from the military honorably can get disability compensation or benefits for illness caused by asbestos exposure during military service. The malleable properties of asbestos made it a key construction material in shipbuilding. Those responsible for shipbuilding and shipyard work had the highest levels of asbestos exposure because they were directly handling asbestos-based insulation that would line the entire structure of every Navy vessel built in the mid-20th century.