LST-31 was laid down on 2 February 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by the Dravo Corporation; launched on 5 June 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Maurice Endres; accepted by the Navy and placed in reduced commission on 10 July 1943; and sailed to New Orleans where she was placed in full commission on 21 July 1943 with Lieutenant John D. Schneidau, Jr., USNR, in command. The new tank landing ship got underway on 29 July for Panama City, Florida where she conducted a series of beaching exercises. LST-31 returned to New Orleans on 7 August to take on cargo for transportation to the Pacific. After a brief port call at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba the vessel transited the Panama Canal on 24 August and joined the Pacific Fleet. She then continued on to San Diego, California where she arrived on 13 September.
After participating in beaching exercises in the San Diego area, the ship stopped at Port Hueneme and at San Francisco, California to take on cargo. She left the west coast on 15 October bound for Hawaii, reached Pearl Harbor on the 25th, and began unloading. When this task was completed, LST-31 again weighed anchor on 5 November and shaped a course for the Gilbert Islands. As a member of 5th Amphibious Force, the ship was slated to take part in the assault on Makin Island. LST-31 arrived off Makin on the 20th and began discharging troops and cargo ashore. She remained off that atoll until 3 December, when she got underway to return to Pearl Harbor. Shortly after her arrival, the vessel entered the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard for repairs and alterations. While her engines were being overhauled, additional 40-millimeter and 20-millimeter guns were installed. The yard period ended in early January 1944, and the refurbished vessel then took part in training exercises off Maui in preparation for the forthcoming invasion of the Marshall Islands.
Based upon his handwritten notes and according to his next set of orders was aboard this vessel and was actively involved in the activities the ship undertook until it arrived at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard and he transferred off on January 3rd, 1944.