The USS Neches (AO-47) was a Kennebec-class oiler in the United States Navy during World War II and the Vietnam War. It was laid down as type T2-A tanker SS Aekay, M.C. hull 148 on 12 June 1941 by Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. of Chester, Pennsylvania; launched on 11 October 1941; sponsored by Miss Barbara Vickery of Washington, D.C.; acquired by the Navy on 20 July 1941; and commissioned as Neches on 16 September 1942. The ship began its last deployment on 1 January 1970 from Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard.
Prior to 1980, asbestos was used in the construction of all US Navy ships. Every sailor who served on these ships almost certainly inhaled asbestos. Once inhaled, asbestos fibers enter the respiratory system and, owing to their rough texture, get lodged in the lung tissue, causing scarring and inflammation. Asbestos fiber inhalation has been related to a variety of illnesses, including lung cancer. If you have a history of asbestos exposure, we recommend that you have a regular X-ray or CT scan to look for indications of asbestos exposure in the pleural lining around the lungs.