The USS Lavaca (APA-180) was a Haskell-class attack transport launched on November 24, 1944. It was commissioned on December 17, the same year under Capt. Walter S. Gabel’s command, with the hull number APA-180 and it served in the US Navy for 3 years until it was decommissioned on January 31, 1947. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 536 people on board and had its main missions in California, San Diego, Samar, New Guinea, Yokohama, Sasebo, Panama, and Norfolk. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on October 1, 1958, and sold for scrapping to Global Marketing Systems in 1992.
The shipbuilding industry used asbestos to insulate hot water and steam pipes, incinerators, and boilers. Veterans of the United States are highly at risk for asbestos-related illnesses, especially Navy veterans who served from World War I through the Korean War. Navy veterans are among the most affected of all individuals because of the extent of their exposure in areas such as boiler rooms, engine rooms, storage rooms, navigation rooms, sleeping quarters, and mess halls.