The USS Protector (AGR-11) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, laid down on 31 January 1945 as Liberty ship SS Warren P. Marks. The ship was launched on 15 March 1945, and delivered to the Maritime Commission, on 29 March 1945, for operation by Shepard Steamship Co. The heydays of asbestos happened prior to and during World War II when the U.S. Navy increased the number of asbestos-laden vessels in anticipation of conflict. Consequently, the health risk posed by exposure to asbestos for all marine personnel and support workers was present at extremely high rates.
There have been a number of studies that have investigated the risk of developing cancer in parts of the body other than the lungs and concluded that asbestos exposure might be related to cancer of the larynx, stomach, colon, and rectum. In 1957, the USS Protector (AGR-11) was acquired by the US Navy and converted to a Radar Picket Ship at Charleston Naval Shipyard, Charleston, SC. The ship was placed in commission on 20 February 1957, with LCDR. Glen G. Heller USN in command.