After ten weeks of shakedown training off the West Coast, Bradford arrived at Pearl Harbor on 24 August. There, with San Pedro-built sisters Boyd, Brown and Cowell, she formed Destroyer Divison 92 in Destroyer Squadron 46. On 25 August, she sortied for the reoccupation of Baker Island (1 September) and with her sisters screened carriers during raids on Tarawa (18 September) and Wake Island (5 and 6 October).
Screening duty continued during the assaults on the Gilbert Islands, Bismarck Archipelago and Marshall Islands between November 1943 and February 1944. During a strike on Truk on 17 February, Bradford joined battleships Iowa and New Jersey, cruisers Minneapolis and New Orleans and destroyers Izard, Charette and Burns in sinking light cruiser Katori and two destroyers.
Pausing after a strike on Hollandia in April 1944, Bradford became immersed in the Marianas operation including the capture and occupation of Saipan, the Battle of the Philippine Sea and three raids on the Bonin Islands in June, the capture and occupation of Guam and a raid on Palau, Yap and Ulithi in July, and a fourth Bonin raid in August.
After the assault on the Philippines from the western Caroline Islands in September, Bradford departed for overhaul at Mare Island and thus missed the Leyte and Luzon operations. She returned to the war zone in time for the Iwo Jima operation in February 1945, where she supporting the amphibious assault and screened transports.
Departing from Ulithi, Bradford joined the Okinawa invasion force at Leyte on 15 March 1945, with which she screened escort carriers from 26 March to 9 May. Between 14 May and 16 June, she was reassigned to radar picket duty for which she was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation. On 20 June, she rejoined carrier forces south of Okinawa and, from 10 July, participated in sweeps in the East China Sea.
After the cease fire in August, Bradford joined mine clearance operations between Okinawa and Kyushu and later operated in support of occupation forces between the Ryukyus and the Japanese home islands. She departed for San Diego in late 1945 and was placed out of commission there on 11 July 1946.
On 27 October 1950, Bradford was recommissioned. Between March and August 1951, she operated with Destroyer Division 131 during the the Korean War. Beginning and ending by screening carriers of Task Force 77, she also bombarded communist-held ports and provided gunfire support for United Nations troops. In two more tours, April–October 1952 and May 1953, she returned to bombard the Korean coast and operate with the Taiwan Strait patrol.
Six peacetime tours in the western Pacific followed between 1944 and 1960. Operating from San Diego thereafter, she was decommissioned with Brown on 9 February 1962 at Bremerton, Washington, and, on 27 September, transferred to Greece. As Thyella (D-28), she served in the Hellenic Navy until she was stricken and scrapped in 1981.