The USS Newcomb (DD-586), a Fletcher-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II, was laid down on 19 March 1943 by Boston Navy Yard and launched on 4 July 1943, sponsored by Mrs. C. C. Baughman. The ship was commissioned on 10 November 1943, with Commander L. B. Cook in command. The ship covered underwater demolition and minesweeping operations as well as antiaircraft and shore bombardment.
Fires were a frequent occurrence and posed a potentially catastrophic danger to Navy equipment and personnel, making asbestos insulation an integral part of ship construction. Asbestos was employed on all naval vessels in the Navy, with personnel below deck on minesweepers, battleships, and submarines facing the highest danger. Asbestos fibers accumulated wherever military personnel worked, slept, and ate due to the closed spaces, and inadequate ventilation.