Anchor (ARS-13) was laid down on 30 April 1942 at Stockton, California, by the Colberg Boat Works; launched on 13 March 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Hattie M. Stevenson; and placed in commission at Stockton, California, on 23 October 1943, Lt. R. M. Brunner in command.
During November, the salvage ship was fitted out at Stockton and at San Francisco, California. Early in December, she sailed to San Diego, California, for shakedown training and salvage operations. Anchor left the U.S. West Coast soon after the beginning or 1944, bound for Hawaii. Upon her arrival at Pearl Harbor on the 11th, she underwent a month of repair work and then was assigned to "ready duty," which involved standing by the entrance buoys to the Pearl Harbor channel and giving assistance when necessary to passing vessels. The ship also conducted torpedo recovery duty.
On 16 July, Anchor departed Pearl Harbor and sailed for Eniwetok. She operated there during August, carrying out various duties such as recovering barges, delivering mail, transporting freight and passengers, and performing salvage operations. The ship steamed to Saipan in early September and assumed duty as blasting control vessel in addition to her salvage work. On 4 November she left Saipan and sailed via Eniwetok back to Hawaii.
She reached Pearl Harbor on 21 November and entered a shipyard for repairs and alterations. Anchor left the yard on 7 February 1945 and shortly thereafter sailed for Eniwetok. She arrived there on 15 March and resumed salvage and towing operations. During that stint at Eniwetok, the ship conducted salvage operations on the merchant ship SS Esso Washington. She moved to Guam in early May and, after a brief availability, began torpedo recovery service. Later that month, the vessel got underway for Okinawa and arrived there on 9 June.
During the next seven months, the ship conducted salvage operations on sunken Japanese shipping and served as a blasting control and air raid control ship for the Okinawa area. On 11 June, she was among several ships that opened fire on four enemy planes attacking Allied ships in the Anchorage. The combined fire shot down one raider.