Dale initially cruised in the Gulf of Mexico and Bahamas, but was soon transferred to the Pacific, where she took part in the regular exercises of the United States Fleet, visited ports from Alaska to Peru, and served as a gunnery training ship.
In October 1939, Dale was assigned to the Hawaiian Detachment, operating out of Pearl Harbor, and was there on 7 December 1941 when Japan's attack on that Pacific Fleet base abruptly brought the US into the Second World War.
In the war’s first months, Dale performed escort and patrol duties and served with aircraft carriers during some of the fleet’s first counter-blows against the Japanese. She screened Saratoga, CV 3, during the early August 1942 invasion of Guadalcanal and Tulagi and in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons later in the month. In the final months of 1942, following escort service in support of the Guadalcanal Campaign, Dale mainly operated out of Pearl Harbor.
In January 1943, Dale was sent to the Aleutians, where she took part in the occupation of Amchitka in January, the gunnery and torpedo Battle of the Komandorski Islands on 26 March, the recovery of Attu in May and the Kiska landings in August. She returned to the warmer central Pacific in September 1943 and in the next two months covered replenishment ships supporting a raid on Wake Island and screened landing ships during the invasion of Makin Atoll, in the Gilberts.
Dale remained in the Central Pacific theater during the first seven months of 1944. Among her activities were supporting the seizure of the Marshall Islands, serving with the fast carrier striking forces in attacks on the Japanese throughout the area, and bombarding the enemy during the June and July landings on Saipan and Guam. After an overhaul at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, she escorted logistics ships during several months of carrier air operations ranging from the Philippines to the Japanese home islands. In June and July 1945 Dale helped with the invasion of Borneo, then returned to her escort duties.
Steaming to the US shortly after the Pacific fighting ended, she decommissioned at New York in October 1945 and was sold for scrapping in December 1946. She earned 12 service stars in World War II.