The SS Cedar Rapids Victory was built by the California Shipbuilding Company in 1944, under the Emergency Shipbuilding program to serve during World War II. It was launched one year later and operated by the American West African Line throughout the war. Victory ships were designed to replace Liberty ships, as the latter were too small, whereas the former would be faster, taller, longer, and wider. The crew of the Navy Armed Guard, who served on the SS Cedar Rapids Victory, earned battle stars for their outstanding activity during the assault on Okinawa. In 1985, the SS Cedar Rapids Victory was sold for scrap.
Since asbestos was a very popular building material in the middle of the last century, the toxic mineral was present aboard the ship in tremendous amounts, particularly in the damage control room, the pump room, the engine room, and the propulsion room. Asbestos exposure can lead to the development of serious respiratory diseases within several decades. For this reason, it is a good idea for veterans to undergo regular medical examinations in order to timely find out about a potential disease caused by asbestos exposure.