Ordered in 1916, the USS R-7 (SS-84) came to life one year later and was launched on 5 April 1919 sponsored by Mrs. Ivan E. Bass, and commissioned on 12 June 1919 with Lieutenant Commander Eric F. Zemke in command. In general, ships and submarines build after 1920 pose a risk for asbestos exposure. Nevertheless, in the case of this submarine, there might be a risk as well, since it was decommissioned for 9 years, a time during which asbestos might have been added to it. In October 1945, the submarine was finally decommissioned and afterward sold for scrap. Many veterans who served in the Navy were exposed to asbestos decades ago and are only now being diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure was so widespread that numerous occupations involved significant risk, including boilermakers, electrician's mates, enginemen, demolition workers, machinist mates, mechanics, pipefitters, ship fitters, technicians, and welders, and many others.