The USS Jamestown (AGTR-3) was a technical research ship used by the U.S. Navy to conduct research in the reception of electromagnetic propagation during the Cold War. It was constructed as the Liberty Ship J. Howland Gardner, under a MARCOM contract, by the New England Shipbuilding Corporation and launched in July 1945. Together with the USS Oxford, it operated near Vietnam, undertaking Signals Intelligence tasks and gathering valuable information for the Navy’s ships in the Vietnam war zone until decommission in December 1969.
Shipyard workers were exposed to asbestos particularly during refitting or decommissioning operations on older vessels, such as those constructed during or just after World War II. Over time, asbestos can trigger genetic changes in affected tissues, eventually leading to a form of cancer called pleural mesothelioma, lung cancer, bronchial cancer, as well as non-cancerous pleural abnormalities such as pleural plaques, diffuse pleural thickening, benign asbestos pleural effusions, and rounded atelectasis.