The USS Thorn (DD-647), a Gleaves-class destroyer, was laid down on 15 November 1942 at Kearny, New Jersey, by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.; sponsored by Mrs. Beatrice Fox Palmer and launched on 28 February 1943. The ship was commissioned on 1 April 1943 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Lieutenant Commander Edward Brumby in command. Struck from the Navy list on 1 July 1971, the ship's hulk was authorized for use as a target and was sunk by aircraft from the aircraft carrier Saratoga on 22 August 1974, approximately 75 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida. The USS Thorn (DD-647) received seven battle stars for her World War II service. The use of asbestos in shipbuilding peaked between World War II and the late-1970s. It was used mainly because of its affordability, tensile strength, heat resistance, and to provide electrical insulation. Ship motion and vibrations increase the possibility of damage to the asbestos and the likely emission of fibers. Asbestos could be found virtually everywhere on a ship, from bow to stern, but typically it would be found in places like heat insulation and lagging, electrical cables, boiler cladding, the wall and ceiling panels, and the fire insulation behind them.