The USS Sierra was a Dixie-class destroyer tender laid down on December 31, 1941 and launched on February 23, 1943. It was commissioned on March 20, 1944 under Capt. P. B. Koonce’s command with the hull number AD-18 and served in the US Navy for 49 years until it was decommissioned on October 15, 1993. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 1,050 people on board and had its main missions in Guantanamo Bay, Norfolk, Hampton Roads, Panama Canal, San Pedro, Pearl Harbor, Shanghai or Sicily. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on the same day and sold for scrapping in 1995. The USS Sierra, just like any other ship in those times that was used in the Navy, was built using massive amounts of asbestos. This strong insulator was present in all the ships' compartments, however, certain areas were subject to larger amounts of asbestos. These include the boiler room or fire room and the engine room. In the boiler room, asbestos was used extensively for its heat resistance. People who were in charge of the vessel's fire room or engine were, therefore, exposed to the highest risk of inhaling dangerous asbestos particles that can cause irreversible lung damage.