Responsible with the task of transporting troops to and from combat areas during World War II, the USS Lowndes was a Haskell-class attack transport ship acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1944. It was laid down by the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation under a Maritime Commission contract and sponsored by Mrs. Fred J. Lundberg. During World War II, it had Commander Charles H. Perdue in command. Following shakedown, the USS Lowndes left San Pedro, California for amphibious training in the Hawaiian Islands. The ship earned two battle stars for the outstanding operations it performed during the conflict. Since it was built during the heyday of asbestos, the toxic mineral was present aboard it in over 300 different products, which unknowingly endangered the health of everyone who served on the ship. Asbestos exposure occurs when a person inhales or ingests asbestos fibers from the air and can lead to serious diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer which develops on the outer lining of the lungs. In 1983, the ship was scrapped by the War Shipping Administration.