On 27 June she departed for Pearl Harbor, arriving 3 July. While at the Submarine Base, Submarine Squadron 14 was assembled with Bushnell serving as tender and staff headquarters for the Squadron and Division Staff. Bushnell remained at Pearl Harbor until September 1943 when she sailed for Midway Island to deliver provisions and structural materials. Upon returning to Pearl Harbor in December she resumed her task of refitting submarines until April 1944.
Bushnell weighed anchor on 27 April for Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, laden with provisions, fuel, and material. Majuro Atoll soon became a regular submarine operating base, although entirely dependent upon the tender. On 5 February 1945 Bushnell returned to Pearl Harbor. On 29 May the tender steamed to Midway to refit submarines arriving there from war patrols. She was thus engaged until the cessation of hostilities.
From September to December 1945 Bushnell continued to act as a repair vessel for submarines throughout the period of demobilization and peacetime reorganization of the submarine force in the San Diego area. In January 1946 she sailed to Guam to tend submarines engaged in the occupation of Japan. This tour of duty continued until April, at which she was recalled to Pearl Harbor for duty with Submarine Squadron 1. Bushnell operated with Submarine Squadron 1 until 24 May 1947. At that time she sailed to Mare Island Naval Shipyard for overhaul. Returning to Pearl Harbor on 10 September, she resumed her duties with Squadron 1. In December 1947 Bushnell returned to Mare Island and reported for inactivation. She was placed out of commission in reserve 30 April 1948.
Bushnell was recommissioned 21 February 1952. After intensive training along the west coast, Bushnell departed for the Atlantic on 7 May 1952. She transited the Panama Canal on 21 May and proceeded to Key West, Florida for duty with Submarine Squadron 12. Since that time Bushnell operated at Key West, tending the boats of Squadron 12 and conducting brief periods of service at Norfolk and short cruises in the Caribbean.