The USS Robert I. Paine (DE/DER-578) was a Buckley-class destroyer escort laid down on November 5, 1943, and launched on December 30, the same year. It was commissioned on February 26, 1944, under Lt. Comdr. Drayton Cochran's command with the hull number DE-578 and served in the U.S. Navy for 3 years until it was decommissioned on November 21, 1947. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 213 men on board and had its main missions in the Canary Islands, Azores, Hampton Roads, Bizerte, Luftwaffe, Halifax, and Liverpool. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on June 1, 1968. One year later, on July 18, 1969, the ship was sold for scrapping. Each pipe on the Navy ships was wrapped in asbestos-containing insulation to keep the heat or cold within the pipes and help them work more efficiently. The insulation on pipes consisted of a felt wrapping that was as much as 70 percent asbestos. Should this outer shell become damaged, its handling, disposal, or replacement could cause asbestos particles to become airborne. When asbestos particles from the insulation get into the air they can be easily inhaled. This can lead to fatal types of cancer, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, often years or decades later.