The second Converse (DD-509) was Iaunched 30 August 1942 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine sponsored by Miss A. V. Jackson, and commissioned 20 November 1942, Commander C. E. Hamberger in command.

After training at Guantánamo Bay and Pearl Harbor Converse arrived at Nouméa 17 May 1943, and through the summer covered convoys carrying men and supplies to New Georgia, then escorted ships moving between Espiritu Santo and Guadalcanal. Arriving at Port Purvis 16 September 1943, she joined Destroyer Squadron 23, with which she was to receive the Presidential Unit Citation for operations in the northern Solomons between 31 October 1943 and 4 February 1944.

USS Robin (HMS Victorious) with USS Saratoga at Noumea, 1943

HMS Victorious (foreground)—temporarily renamed USS Robin—and USS Saratoga, at Nouméa, New Caledonia, 1943.

After supporting “Operation Torch,” the invasion of North Africa in late 1942, British aircraft carrier HMS Victorious was refitted at Norfolk Navy Yard, then loaned to the US Pacific Fleet until being replaced by Essex. Despite its massive industrial muscle, the United States still found itself short of carriers in the Pacific, the only American carrier available in the South Pacific was Saratoga.

With Converse and Pringle escorting, Victorious sailed from Norfolk to Pearl Harbor, where they joined Saratoga's Task Force 14. Arriving at Nouméa 17 May 1943 and renamed USS Robin, Victorious embarked US aircraft and aircrew, and with Saratoga swept the Solomon Islands, whilst Saratoga embarked all the strike squadrons including the Fleet Air Arm 832 Squadron Avengers.

In May–June 1943, at Nouméa, New Caledonia, light cruiser San Diego joined Saratoga, and Robin in support of the invasion of Munda, New Georgia, and of Bougainville. During this period Robin operated 60 British and American Wildcat fighters for air cover. The two carriers sailed 27 June, took up position and in the next few days put up 600 sorties against little opposition. The aircraft were reassigned to their parent carriers 24 July, and the force returned to Nouméa the next day.

Resuming her christened name, Victorious returned to the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow towards the end of 1943 and in early 1944 her aircraft participated in the attack on the Tirpitz.

Source: Index of Naval Aircraft Carriers.

On the first of those dates, Converse sortied with her squadron and cruisers to provide cover for amphibious landings on Bougainville, and on the night of 31 October–1 November 1943, bombarded Buka and Bonis airfields and targets in the Shortlands. The next night her force intercepted a Japanese group of cruisers and destroyers heading for an attack on the transports lying at Bougainville, and opened fire in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay. One Japanese cruiser and one enemy destroyer were sunk in this action, and the enemy was turned back from their intended attack on the transports, although the American defenders came under severe attack by aircraft from Rabaul supporting the Japanese ships.

Converse continued bombardments and escort duty supporting the Bougainville operation, and on the night of 16–17 November 1943 joined Stanly (DD 478) in firing on a surfaced submarine, scoring several hits. On the night of 24–25 November, the squadron intercepted five Japanese destroyers attempting to evacuate critically needed aviation troops from Buka to Rabaul. In a skillfully executed torpedo attack followed by a persistent chase during which Converse was struck by a torpedo which failed to explode, the squadron sank three of the enemy ships and caused heavy damage to a fourth, while emerging unscathed themselves.

While escorting a group of ships carrying reinforcements and supplies to Bougainville 3 December 1943, Converse came under heavy attack from six waves of Japanese bombers. A near miss caused an electrical failure, putting her radar out of commission and resulting in a loss of power forward. Repairs were quickly made, and the Japanese force fought off, but Converse sailed from Port Purvis 14 December for complete repairs at Sydney, Australia. She rejoined her squadron at Port Purvis 30 January 1944 for bombardments and hunting forays against Japanese shipping through February and March in the northern Solomons.

Converse cleared Port Purvis 27 March 1944 to join the great carrier TF 58 for screening duty during the air strikes on the Palaus from 30 March to 1 April, and with that force covered the Hollandia landings through preinvasion air attacks and bombardment, continuing their fire during the landings 22 April. Carrier attacks on Truk, Satawan, and Ponape at the close of the month found Converse continuing her screening duties. Attacks preparatory to, and covering, the invasion of Saipan began 12 June as targets throughout the Marianas were hit. While the landings themselves were made on 15 June, Converse’s task force hit at Japanese bases in the Bonins, then returned to the Marianas to continue their close support. When the Japanese fleet challenged the American operations in the Marianas on 16 June, Converse continued her screening through the resulting aerial Battle of the Philippine Sea, a 2-day engagement which resulted in the sinking of three Japanese carriers and the loss to Japan of many aircraft and their irreplaceable pilots. After joining in shore bombardment of Guam and Rota at the. close of June, Converse replenished at Eniwetok, and on 4 August, sailed for overhaul at Mare Island.

The destroyer returned to action 3 November 1944 when she joined the screen of carriers covering the convoy routes to newly invaded Leyte. On 21 December, while escorting the first resupply echelon to Mindoro, Converse came under attack by desperate Japanese suicide planes, and fired to drive them away as well as rescuing 266 survivors of LST-749. She gave fire support to the landings in Lingayen Gulf on 9 and 10 January 1945, and then joined the task unit assigned to recapture Corregidor. Her guns destroyed gun emplacements, barges, suicide boats, and entombed about 100 enemy troops by sealing the entrance to Malinta Tunnel.

After a brief overhaul at Subic Bay, Converse patrolled off Corregidor until mid March 1945, and from 18 March to 1 April joined in the invasion of Panay and Los Negros. Through the next month she carried out a variety of duties in the development of Iloilo as a staging center for the planned invasion of Japan. On 16 May, Converse arrived off Okinawa, where she operated on dangerous and demanding radar picket duty until the close of the war. Often firing to drive off suicide-bent Japanese aircraft, she received no damage during the difficult months that followed. On 10 September she sailed from Okinawa for Pearl Harbor, the Panama Canal, and Washington, D.C., where on 19 October, the ceremonial award of the Presidential Unit Citation was made to her squadron. After overhaul at Brooklyn, she was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Charleston S.C., 23 April 1946. On 1 July 1959 she was transferred under the Mutual Assistance Program to Spain, with whom she served as Almirante Valdés (D-43).

In addition to the Presidential Unit Citation, Converse earned 11 battle stars for World War II service.

Source: Naval History & Heritage Command, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.