Goldsborough joined Division 25, Squadron 3, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, departing Norfolk 25 February 1920 for training at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and returning to New York 1 May 1920 for maneuvers and tactics off the New England Coast. She stood out of Hampton Roads 1 September 1920 on a practice cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, returning to Norfolk 10 October for operations along the seaboard to New York until 5 January 1921 when she sailed to join the combined Battle Fleet off Cuba; thence she steamed through the Panama Canal to Callao, Peru, and back to Guantánamo Bay for further battle practice before return to Norfolk 27 April. She entered Philadelphia Navy Yard 28 April for inactivation and decommissioned 14 July 1922. She was redesignated AVP-18 15 November 1939. She was converted in the New York Navy Yard, recommissioned 1 July 1940; and redesignated AVD-5 on 2 August 1940.
Goldsborough departed New York 12 August 1940, to tend amphibious planes on neutrality patrol in waters ranging from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Virgin Islands, to Trinidad, British West Indies. She returned to Norfolk 23 January 1941 for repairs; conducted a cruise to the coast of Mexico and returned (3 March–3 April), then served the Patrol Wing Support Force, Patrol Squadrons, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, at Argentia, Newfoundland; Reykjavik, Iceland; and Gungnat Bay, Greenland. She arrived at Norfolk from Greenland 13 October 1941 for repairs, then proceeded to Seamour Bay, Galapagos Islands, arriving 23 December 1941. Here she tended amphibious patrol planes of Patrol Squadron 3, sometimes steaming down the coast of the Americas as far as Valparaiso, Chile, with time-out for service as a simulated target in Panama Bay.
She transited the Panama Canal 17 June 1942 and entered Trujillo Bay, Honduras, the 21st with Commander Patrol Squadron 3 embarked to direct operations of the squadron on special patrols in conjunction with other naval units attempting to locate Axis submarine bases. After being contacted by patrol planes, a party from Goldsborough boarded Honduran merchant ship Laguna 25 June, and Honduran merchant ship Racer the following day. Both were turned over to British authorities at Belize. On 3 July Goldsborough departed Puerta Castilla for Portland Bight, Jamaica. Here she tended aircraft on special patrols in the protection of convoys between Cuba and the Panama Canal. She arrived at the Charleston Navy Yard from Jamaica 2 October 1942 for repairs, followed by gunnery practice in the Chesapeake Bay.
Goldsborough departed Norfolk 30 October 1942 to escort seaplane tender Pocomoke (AV-9) to Panama and seaplane tender Albemarle (AV-5) to aviation patrol bases at San Juan, P.R.; Trinidad, B.W.I.; and Bermuda, Fla. She returned to Norfolk 30 November 1942 to spend the following year as escort for Albemarle while carrying men, aeronautical cargo, and aircraft of Fleet Air Wings of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet to Guantánamo Bay; Trinidad; Bermuda ; San Juan; and Recife, Brazil. She returned to Norfolk on the last of these missions 5 September 1943. After patrol with Core (CVE-13) antisubmarine warfare task group 5 October–15 November 1943, Goldsborough was redesignated DD-188 on 1 December 1943.
On 4 December 1943, Goldsborough sailed with the Core task group. Near midnight of 2 January 1944, she made visual contact with a surfaced U-boat off the Azores, fought through heavy seas in an attempt to ram amidships. She just missed the U-boat’s stern as it slid under the sea. After two depth charge attacks, Goldsborough lost contact. She then screened Core to Norfolk 18 January and proceeded to New York Navy Yard for voyage repairs. Thereafter, she escorted Aucilla (AO-56) to Trinidad, returning to Norfolk as escort of Nitro (AE-2) then entered the Charleston Navy Yard on 21 February 1944 for conversion to a high speed transport, and redesignation as APD-32, 7 March 1944.
Goldsborough departed Charleston 10 April and reached Pearl Harbor, via the Panama Canal and San Diego, 9 May for amphibious assault training in Hanalei and Kawaihae Bay. She sailed 29 May to rendezvous with a transport force proceeding via Ulithi to arrive off the invasion beaches of Saipan 15 June 1944. An aerial bomb exploded 400 yards to starboard as she assisted in repelling a raid of enemy dive bombers. The following day she landed the 2d Company, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, just south of Charon Kanoa. During the next 5 weeks she escorted supply and troop convoys between the Marshalls and Saipan, taking time out for direct gunfire support of troops on Saipan the nights of 29 June and 7 July. She departed Saipan 28 July to train Underwater Demolition Team 4 in Hawaiian waters, then joined a Beach Demolition Task Group that sailed from Manus, Admiralty Islands, 12 October to destroy enemy facilities and installations in the vicinity of the proposed invasion beaches of eastern Leyte as well as on the entrance islands of Leyte Gulf. The afternoon of 18 October 1944 she poured a withering fire into concealed enemy positions at Dulag, covering underwater demolition teams headed for the shore. Two 75mm. shells straddled the high speed transport; and a third hit her number one stack, killing 2 and wounding 16 men. She screened the battleships and cruisers, carrying out a relentless bombardment through the night of the 19th and supporting troops that launched the invasion the morning of 20 October 1944. She departed the following day to embark troops at Noemfoor, Schouten Islands, landing them on the beaches at Tolasa, Leyte, 18 November 1944. She again arrived off Noemfoor 19 December for transport of troops to Mios Woendi, Padiados Islands, thence via Morotai with six merchant ships escorted into Leyte Gulf 6 January 1945. Her next assignment was patrolling the entrance of Lingayen Gulf. She dispatched a medical team to damaged Gilligan 12 January, picked up two survivors, then put her rudder full left as she opened fire on a suicide plane which just missed the stern of Richard W. Suesens before crashing into the sea. Goldsborough continued patrol in the Gulf and off San Fabian until 18 January 1945.
After voyage repairs at Ulithi, Goldsborough landed troops at Iwo Jima (3–6 March), thence via the Marianas to Tulagi Harbor in the Solomons and back to Ulithi, where she joined transports bound for Okinawa. She arrived off Okinawa 11 April, fought off aerial raids near Hagushi beaches the following day and rescued a Navy fighter pilot whose plane was damaged in aerial combat. She departed Okinawa 14 April for voyage repairs at Guam, returning 15 May 1945 to patrol off Hagushi beaches until the 31st. Goldsborough was then routed via the Marianas, Marshalls, and Pearl Harbor to San Pedro, Calif., where she arrived 1 July 1945. Redesignated again as destroyer (DD-188) 10 July, she decommissioned there 11 October 1945. Her name was struck from the Navy List 24 October 1945 and she was sold for scrapping 21 November 1946 to Hugo Nue Corporation, New York, N.Y.
Goldsborough received five battle stars for service in World War II.