Built in 1919 at Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, the USS S-40 (SS-145) was commissioned 4 years later. It participated in World War II and won one battle star, as well as numerous awards, such as the American Defense Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Yangtze Service Medal. However, the people who served on it might have been exposed to airborne asbestos fibers, as the submarine is very likely to have been insulated with this toxic mineral. The vessel was decommissioned in 1945, at the end of the war, and later sold for scrapping. Because of its unique high-temperature resiliency and nearly indestructible qualities, asbestos was used to insulate hulls, pipes, incinerators, and boilers and in materials such as gaskets, valves, and cement throughout the Navy ships. Virtually every occupation at the shipyard was at risk of significant asbestos exposure, including pipe covers, shipwrights, pipefitters, boiler workers, carpenters, engine room mechanics, electricians, insulators, maintenance mechanics, millwrights, sheet metal workers, and welders.