The USS S-16 (SS-121) was an S-class submarine, laid down on 19 March 1918 by the Lake Torpedo Boat Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, launched on 23 December 1919 sponsored by Mrs. Archibald W. McNeil and commissioned on 17 December 1920, Lieutenant Commander Andrew C. Bennett in command. Despite being laid down in 1918, when asbestos was not such a widespread building material, the submarine had a period of inactivity between 1935 and 1940, which means that the mineral could have been added to its walls in the form of insulation during this time. In 1944, the submarine was decommissioned and subsequently sunk as a target one year later. Friable asbestos poses a high risk of exposure to Navy personnel deployed on military ships. When disturbed, asbestos fibers can be released into the air and inhaled. Accumulated exposure to asbestos is a well-documented risk factor for several diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.