The USS Skywatcher (AGR-3) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, built-in 1944 at J. A. Jones Construction Co. Inc., Panama City, Florida, under the name of Rafael R. Rivera. It was launched on January 16, 1945, and after just one year, converted into a livestock ship, which was also called a ”cowboy ship”. From 1945 until 1947, it made a few trips across the Atlantic Ocean to war-torn countries as part of the ”Heifers for Relief” project. After this period, it was acquired by the US Navy in 1954, renamed USS Skywatcher and converted into a radar picket ship. She was assigned to duty in July 1955, in the Contiguous Radar Coverage System of the U.S., operating out of Newport, Rhode Island. Because important ship components needed to withstand high temperatures, asbestos was heavily used as an insulation material on many ships manufactured in that period. Constantly working with asbestos-containing products caused millions of microscopic fibers to be released into the air, seriously endangering the health of ship workers.