JFK was given command of this Navy vessel on September 1, 1943 after returning to duty following his recovery from the sinking of PT-109 in the Solomon Islands. The official name of the new boat command was PTGB-1, Gunboat No. 1.
After Kennedy took charge of the vessel, it was retrofitted to act as a gunboat against Japanese shipping barges. The torpedo tubes were removed and .50 and .30 -caliber machine guns protected by metal plates were added on the on sides of the ship. The single 20 millimeter anti-aircraft gun on the stern was upsized to 40 millimeter anti-aircraft guns that could also serve as cannons against ground and water level targets.
After the retrofitting was complete, JFK and his crew took the vessel to Lambu Lambu Cove on Vella Lavella Island. The boat was returned to the Rhode Island PT base in August of 1944.
It would be his last command post before he assumed the Presidency of the United States.