The USS Thornhill (DE-195) was a Cannon-class destroyer escort laid down on October 7, 1943, and launched on December 30, the same year. It was commissioned on February 1, 1944, under Lt. John B. Shumway’s command with the hull number DE-195 and served in the U.S. Navy for 3 years until it was decommissioned on June 17, 1947. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 216 men on board and had its main missions in Bermuda, New York, France, England, North Africa, Cuba, the Marshalls, Eniwetok, and Hawaii. After decommissioning, the ship was transferred to Italy in 1951 where it was renamed Aldebaran. Maintenance and repair jobs - inevitable for the good functioning of a Navy ship - required boiler tenders, pipefitters, hull maintenance workers, engine operators, and others who worked in boiler rooms, engine rooms, and navigation rooms, to scrape off old insulation, unfasten connectors, remove gaskets, cut or drill into asbestos-coated pipe sections, and more. Each of these actions causes asbestos fibers to break off and enter the air. Once in the air, asbestos can easily find its way into the lungs or intestinal tract.