Named for the Pacific Atoll and World War II battle, USS Wake Island was built at Vancouver, Washington and commissioned on Nov. 7, 1943. After shakedown, the ship was sent to the Atlantic side of the country. After loading gear and military officers, the ship set sail for India via Cape Horn. She returned successfully in May 1944. After reloading, she became part of a hunter-killer group in Bermuda.
During her cruise, one of the pilots successfully bombed a German U-boat off the African coast. In August, the ship headed to Norfolk for alterations and repairs. After this, she was assigned to carrier aircraft qualifications duty until the end of October. In November, the ship headed to the Pacific.
In the Pacific, she was sent to the Philippines to support the invasion of Luzon. After that, she was used for support of the invasion of the Volcano Islands. In February 1945, Wake Island went to Iwo Jima to provide air support for the invasion.
After this, Okinawa was next. During the preparation, however, the ship was severely damaged. The ship was sent to Guam for repairs in April. The following month was spent in dry dock. After that, it went back to Okinawa for flight operations. Damage was, however, extensive and eventually brought her out of combat operations. She was used for troop and aircraft transport until the end of the war.
She was decommissioned April 5, 1946.