From 1937 into 1941, Reid participated in training and fleet maneuvers in the Atlantic and Pacific. During the attack upon Pearl Harbor, Reid fired at the Japanese planes, and her group of destroyers downed one. After the attack, Reid patrolled off the Hawaiian Islands, Palmyra Atoll and Johnston Island, in December. In January 1942, she escorted a convoy to San Francisco. Following patrol off Hawaii, she steamed to Midway Island, and then twice escorted convoys from Pearl Harbor to San Francisco.
Departing Pearl Harbor 22 May, Reid steamed north to bombard Japanese positions on Kiska Island, Alaska, 7 August. She supported landings at Adak, Alaska, 30 August, and sank by gunfire the Japanese submarine RO-1 on the 31st. After transferring five prisoners to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, she patrolled near New Caledonia, Samoa, and the Fiji Islands during October and November.
Departing Suva Harbor, Fiji Islands on Christmas Day 1942, she escorted Army troops to Guadalcanal, before guarding a convoy to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides. In January 1943, she bombarded several enemy locations on Guadalcanal.
After patrols in the Solomons, Reid provided radar information and fighter direction for landings at Lae, New Guinea, 4 September. While supporting landings at Finschhafen, New Guinea, on the 22d she downed two enemy planes.
After patrol and escort duty off New Guinea, she sailed from Buna Roads, New Guinea, to escort troop transports to landings at Arawe, New Britain, 15 December 1943. She protected landings at Cape Gloucester, New Britain, on the 26th, and at Saidor, New Guinea, 2 January 1944. She guarded landings at Los Negros Island, Admiralty Islands, 29 February, and at Hollandia, New Guinea, 22 April. Her guns supported landings at Wakde Island 17 May, at Biak on the 27th, and at Noemfoor Island, New Guinea, 2 July.
Departing Pearl Harbor 29 August, she supported air strikes against Wake Island 3 September. After patrols off Leyte, Philippine Islands, in November she steamed to Ormoc Bay, Leyte. She supported landings there 7 December, and escorted the damaged Lamson (DD-367) toward Leyte Gulf.
Escorting reinforcements for Ormoc Bay near Surigao Straits 11 December, Reid destroyed seven Japanese planes, before she sank from repeated kamikaze crashes. Her 150 survivors were picked up by landing craft in her convoy.
Reid earned eight service stars during World War II.