The USS Niagara Falls (AFS–3), a Mars-class combat stores ship, was commissioned on 29 April 1967. It served until September 1994, when it was transferred to the US Military Sealift Command to serve as USNS Niagara Falls (T-AFS-3). Assigned to the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, Far East, the USS Niagara Falls (AFS–3) served until 30 September 2008, when it was deactivated. The ship's mission was to provide the Fleet with refrigerated supplies, dry food, technical spares, and general store-type equipment while at sea. Its design allowed for high issue rates with a small crew and the most up-to-date transfer-at-sea, cargo handling, storage, and automation techniques. Anyone who worked aboard a US Navy ship before 1980 is likely to have been exposed to asbestos. Asbestos fibers enter the body by inhalation and stay there for 10 to 40 years, scarring the tissue and causing pulmonary diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. Navy veterans who developed asbestos-related ailments while serving in the Navy may be eligible for compensation from one or more of the asbestos trust funds, as well as other forms of VA support, such as VA health care services and monthly payment.