The USS Valeria (AKA-48) was an Artemis-class attack cargo ship laid down on April 8, 1945, and launched on May 29, the same year. It was commissioned on June 28, 1945, under Lt. Comdr. Robert Smith Trower’s command and served in the US Navy for 1 year until it was decommissioned on March 18, 1946. It carried a complement of 303 men on board. During this period, the ship operated in Boston, Oahu, Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, Espiritu Santo, and New Hebrides. After decommissioning, the USS Valeria was struck from the Naval Register on April 17, 1946. Despite evidence of its risks and medical research dating back to the 1930s, thousands of Navy veterans - in a vast range of occupations - continued to be exposed to asbestos until the mid-70s when the use of the toxic mineral was banned in shipbuilding. Asbestos exposure has been conclusively linked to lung cancer. It has been determined that the longer the exposure and the greater the amount of exposure, the higher the likelihood that asbestos causes cancer.