The USS Meredith (DD-434), a Gleaves-class destroyer, was laid down on 1 June 1939 by Boston Naval Shipyard and launched on 24 April 1940, sponsored by Miss Ethel Dixon Meredith. The ship was commissioned on 1 March 1941, with Lieutenant Commander William F. Mendenhall, Jr., in command. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the destroyer engaged in escort and antisubmarine patrol between Iceland and the Denmark Straits, until it departed Halfjordur. On 15 October 1942, the ship was struck by a bomb that exploded beneath her bridge, destroying all communications, steering control, and gun direction. The ship was struck by an estimated 14 bombs and seven torpedoes. Documents indicate the use of asbestos materials aboard destroyers, particularly gaskets, adhesives, valves, lagging, deck matting, insulation, fabric on steam drums, and heaters. According to these records, asbestos was mostly utilized in navigation rooms, engine and boiler rooms, service member sleeping quarters, and mess halls. It was also claimed that gunner mates who served particularly during the Korean War were forced to wear asbestos gloves while firing guns and loading ammunition.