The USS Iowa (BB-61) was an Iowa-class battleship laid down on June 27, 1940, and launched on August 27, 1942. It was commissioned for the first time on February 22, 1943, under Capt. John L. McCrea’s command with the hull number BB-61 and served in the US Navy for 19 years until it was decommissioned on October 26, 1990. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 2,788 men on board and had its main missions in Argentia, the Marshalls, the Carolines, the Palaus, the Philippines, Leyte, Samar, Japan, and Vietnam. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on March 17, 2006, and used as a museum ship. For the services brought to the country during World War II, the USS Iowa received 11 battle stars.
Asbestos was a common component in many products for commercial and industrial applications, particularly in shipyards. It can take from 10 to 40 years for some asbestos-related diseases to surface. This means Navy personnel exposed decades ago may just now be developing a life-threatening condition caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos in the past.