The USS J. Richard Ward (DE-243) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort laid down on September 30, 1942, and launched on January 6, the following year. It was commissioned on July 5, 1943, under Lt. Cmdr. T. S. Dunstan’s command as DE-243 and served in the US Navy for 17 years until it was decommissioned on June 13, 1946. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 209 people on board and had its main missions in Texas, Norfolk, Bermuda, Charleston, New York, Pearl Harbor, and Argentia. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on January 2, 1971, and sold for scrapping in 1972. Microscopic asbestos fibers can be released into the air when disturbing or removing insulation that contains asbestos, including insulation around hot water pipes, sanding, or scraping older surface treatments containing asbestos. Breathing in asbestos fibers can cause cancer and other diseases, such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, bronchial cancer, esophageal cancer, throat cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, and colorectal cancer.