The USS Meeker County (LST-980) was an LST-542-class tank landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II. Like many ships of its class, the USS Meeker County (LST-980) was not named and is properly referred to by its hull designation. Later named after Meeker County, Minnesota, it was the only US Naval vessel to bear the name. The USS Meeker County (LST-980) was laid down as LST-980 on 22 December 1943, at the Boston Navy Yard; launched on 10 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Orrion R. Hewitt; and commissioned on 19 March 1944, with Lieutenant W. F. Westfall in command. The ship was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 April 1975 and sold for scrapping by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service a few months later. Between World War II and the late-1970s, asbestos was thought to be a miraculous fire-proof, insulating material that would increase fire safety onboard aircraft carriers, submarines, and other sea-going vessels. Asbestos insulation was used in boiler rooms, sleeping quarters, and mess halls, as well as in a variety of shipboard components, ranging from electric boards in radar towers and radio rooms to centrifuge units in sickbay laboratories, and from shipboard armaments to kitchen ovens used to prepare food for the Navy personnel.