The USS J. R. Y. Blakely (DE-140) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort laid down on December 16, 1942, and launched on March 7, the following year. It was commissioned on August 16, 1943, under Lt. Cmdr. J. H. Forshew’s command as DE-140 and served in the U.S. Navy for 3 years until it was decommissioned on June 14, 1946. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 209 people on board and had its main missions in Panama Canal, New York, Bahia, Mayport, Casablanca, Bermuda, Newfoundland, Azores, Cape Town, and Pearl Harbor. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on January 2, 1971, and sold for scrapping in 1973. Asbestos is a natural material valued for its insulating and non-corrosive properties - an ideal material for use in the shipbuilding industry. Anyone on the ship during construction, damage, or repair may have been exposed to asbestos, which can result in lung cancer or other types of cancer. When an asbestos-containing product is disturbed, asbestos fibers are released into the air. Devastating diseases are caused when these tiny fibers lodge in the human tissues after inhalation.