In 1938 she transported a consignment of gold from the Bank of England to New York. Then, attached to Destroyer Squadron 9 with sisters Davis, McDougal, Winslow, Moffett and Jouett and often operating in company with Cruiser Division 2’s Memphis (CL 13), Milwaukee (CL 5), Cincinnati (CL 6) and Omaha (CL 4), she served in the Neutrality Patrol in the Caribbean Sea and the South Atlantic for two years. In November 1941, she and Omaha captured the German freighter Odenwald, while disguised as the American merchantman Willmott. In November 1942, operating with Cincinnati and Milwaukee, she also sank blockade runner Anneliese Essberger and, in January 1944, Westerland.
Later in 1944, Somers participated in the Normandy and southern France invasions, providing naval gunfire support as well as serving in the anti-submarine screen. On 15 August, four hours before H-Hour, D-Day along the French Riviera, Somers encountered and sank the German corvettes Comascio and Escabort. Following this action, she moved inshore to provide gunfire support to the invasion. For two days she bombarded enemy strongpoints off the coast near Toulon with 5-inch shells and then exchanged fire and hits with enemy shore batteries east of Marseilles.
Somers earned 10 battle stars in World War II.