Laid down as a Cleveland-class light cruiser by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in 1943, the USS Topeka was named after the city with the same name as Kansas. The ship participated in World War II and in the Vietnam War. For the former, it earned 2 battle stars, whereas, for the latter, it received 3 battle stars. The ship was sponsored by Mrs. Frank J. Warren and had Captain Thomas L. Wattles in command. Asbestos was highly prevalent on the USS Topeka, since the mineral had numerous convenient properties, such as fire and electricity resistance, and was mostly present as insulation aboard the military vessel. Inevitably, everyone who served on the ship was exposed to asbestos, which now places veterans at high risk of developing serious diseases such as lung cancer. For this reason, people who were present on the USS Topeka must undergo regular medical examinations, as they may have unknowingly developed a disease. In 1975, the ship was eventually sold for scrap.