Named after the star Situla, the 441-feet longship was laid down in January 1943 as the Liberty Ship SS John Whiteaker and later converted to a cargo ship at the San Francisco Navy Yard. The USS Situla (AK-140) carried out various transportation missions between Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, Kwajalein, Saipan, and Guam throughout the war. After the war, the ship remained on the west coast for a brief period, before returning to Pearl Harbor in April 1946. It was later returned to the Maritime Commission at Suisun Bay and was struck from the Navy list in January 1948. The crew received 3 medals for their service brought to the county: the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. Asbestos has been used for thousands of years due to its durability and heat-resistant properties. The fibrous mineral can be easily separated into long, thin strands, to spin or weave, making it a valuable heat shield for industrial uses. However, these fibers are just as easily inhaled and absorbed into bodily tissues, making them just as harmful as they are useful.