The USS Graffias (AF-29), a Hyades-class stores ship, was originally laid down in 1943 as Topa Topa, a Maritime Commission type (C2-S-E1) hull under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1610) at the Gulf Shipbuilding Corporation, Chickasaw, Alabama. The ship was acquired by the United States Navy on 19 February 1944 and subsequently converted by the Bethlehem Steel Company, Baltimore, Maryland. It was commissioned at Baltimore on 28 October 1944, with Lieutenant Commander B. P. Caraher in command. The USS Graffias (AF-29) earned eight battle stars for Korean War service and seven campaign stars for Vietnam War service. It was decades later that the military learned about asbestos's detrimental consequences since the manufacturing companies had concealed the material's health hazards. The key danger from asbestos is the fibers it releases into the air as it crumbles from age or as it is disturbed during removal or construction. People who inhaled asbestos fibers during their active duty in the military are at risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Symptoms may not develop for years after exposure.