Built at Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corp., Seattle, Washington, Ross was first commissioned 21 February 1944, the 151st ship of the Fletcher class. Named for Captain David Ross, commanding the 14-gun privateer Belvedere during the Quasi-war with France, she completed shakedown and joined the war with Destroyer Squadron 56 in time for the June 1944 invasion of Saipan, then prepared for the invasion of the Philippines.
In the early morning of October 19, in a swept area about eight miles off Homonhon Island at the entrance to Leyte Gulf, Ross struck two mines amidships within half an hour, losing 23 crewmembers killed. Saved by her wonderful hull construction and her crew’s superb damage control, she was towed by tug Chickasaw to an anchorage off nearby Montoconan Island. Over the next seven weeks, she endured multiple air attacks and a typhoon while entering floating drydock ARD-19 in San Pedro Bay. Finally, on 13 December, she began a long tow home via Humboldt Bay, New Guinea and arrived at Mare Island, California 2 March 1945. En route, in February, she was reassigned to Destroyer Squadron 21.
At sea again after repairs were completed in June 1945, Ross arrived at Ulithi the day cease-fire was declared. Assigned to air-sea rescue operations, she entered Tokyo Bay 5 September and continued on occupation duty into October. She earned five battle stars in World War II.
After the war, Ross was decommissioned and placed in reserve at San Diego, but was recommissioned in 1951. Transferred to Norfolk, Virginia, she operated throughout the fifties in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Caribbean with an around-the-world cruise in 1954 and brief operations in the Indian Ocean in 1957. Decommissioned in 1959, she remained inactive at Norfolk until 1974, when she was stricken from the navy list.