The USS Helena (CL-50) was a St. Louis-class light cruiser laid down on December 9, 1936, and launched on August 27, 1938. It was commissioned on September 18, 1939, under Capt. Max B. Demott’s command with the hull number CL-50 and served in the U.S. Navy for 4 years until it sank during the Battle of Kula Gulf on July 6, 1943. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 888 people on board and had its main missions in Pearl Harbor, Mare Island, Cape Hunter, Guadalcanal, New Georgia, Espiritu Santo, San Cristobal, and Kula Gulf. The ship was repaired in Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard after the Japanese attack. For the services brought to the country during World War II, the USS Helena received 7 battle stars and 1 Navy Unit Commendation. Heat resistance and fireproofing capabilities made asbestos an ideal material for use in the shipbuilding industry until it was phased out in the 1970s. The Navy used asbestos to insulate pipes, turbines, pumps, engines, boilers, incinerators and other heat-sensitive areas such as weapons and ammunition storage rooms. The dreadful thing about asbestos-related diseases is that many veterans did not do anything to cause these conditions but to serve our country. Those currently serving in the Navy, Marine, or Coast Guard, continue to face the risk of exposure, as past uses of asbestos still linger on many Navy ships.