The USS Searaven was a Sargo-class submarine laid down on August 9, 1938, and launched on June 21, the following year. It was commissioned on October 2, 1939, under Lt. Thomas G. Reamy’s command with the hull number SS-196 and it served in the US Navy for 7 years before it was decommissioned on December 11, 1946. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 59 people on board and had its main missions in Truk, Pearl Harbor, Honshu, Eniwetok, Fremantle, and the Palau Islands. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on October 21, 1948, and used as a target during training exercises in California the same year. For the service brought to the country during World War II, the USS Seawolf received 10 battle stars.
Over 300 asbestos-containing materials have been used in the manufacturing of naval ships until the mid-1970s when the health risks associated with asbestos exposure became more widely known. Materials created with the toxic mineral were cheap and resistant so they were used in nearly every part of each naval ship.