The USS Worden (DLG/CG-18) was a Leahy-class cruiser laid down on September 19, 1961, and launched on June 2, the following year. It was commissioned on August 3, 1963, as DLG-18 and served in the U.S. Navy for 30 years until it was decommissioned on October 1, 1993. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 400 people on board and had its main missions in San Diego, Pearl Harbor, Danang, Yokosuka, the Gulf of Tonkin, Seal Beach, and Sasebo. After decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on October 1, 1993, and sunk as a target during training exercises in 2000.
From the early 1930s to the mid-1970s, there was no way to avoid asbestos exposure on a naval ship or in a shipyard. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can get trapped in the lungs, causing scar tissue build-up and lesions. Such tissue and lesions restrict a person’s ability to breathe and can lead to several types of asbestos-related lung diseases, many decades after the initial exposure.