USS Van Voorhis was a Dealey-class destroyer escort laid down on August 29, 1955 and launched on July 28, 1956. It was commissioned on April 22, 1957 under Lt. Comdr. Joseph J. Doak’s command with the hull number DE-1028 and served in the US Navy for 15 years until it was decommissioned on July 1, 1972. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 170 people on board and had the main missions in South America, Cuba, Newport, Gibraltar, Greenwich, Greenock or Mayport in Florida. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List the same day. Also in 1973, USS Van Voorhis was sold for scrapping to the Union Minerals and Alloys Corporation in New York.
All Navy veterans aboard navy ships faced high risks of asbestos exposure. The tight quarters poorly ventilated allowed asbestos fibers to accumulate where service members worked, ate and slept. The fire-resistant mineral was also used in flooring, cables, gaskets, valves, pipe fittings, and storage rooms.