USS Goldsborough (DD-188/ AVP-18/ AVD-5/ APD-32)

USS Goldsborough (DD-188/ AVP-18/ AVD-5/ APD-32) was a Clemson class destroyer that spent much of the Second World War supporting amphibious aircraft, before being converted into a fast transport to take part in the invasions of Saipan, the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

The Goldsborough was named after Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough, a US Naval Officer who served in the Mexican War and commanded the North Atlantic Blockading Squdron at the start of the American Civil War.

Detail from Battle of Scheveningen by Willem van de Velde the Elder
USS Goldsborough
(DD-188), 1920

The Goldsborough was launched at Newport News on 20 November 1918 and commissioned on 26 January 1920. She joined Division 25, Squadron 3 of the US Atlantic Fleet in time to take part in the summer exercises of 1920 in the Carribean. Over the winter of 1920-21 she took part in exercises off the US east coast. In January 1921 she joined the Battle Fleet at Cuba. She then passed through the Panama Canal and visited Callao in Peru before returning to Cuba. She was back at Norfolk on 27 April 1921. On the following day she entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she was decommissioned on 14 July 1922.

In 1939 the Goldsborough was chosen for conversion into an aircraft tender. She was redesignated as AVP-18 (aircraft tender, small) on 15 November 1939, converted for her new role at New York and recommissioned on 1 July 1940. On 2 August she was redesignated as AVD-5 (aircraft tender, destroyer), and ten day slater she left New York to begin a period supporting amphibious aircraft taking part in the Neutrality patrol in the Caribbean. During this period she operated in the waters between Peurto Rico, Cuba and Trinidad.

On 23 January 1941 the Goldsborough returned to Norfolk for repairs. Once these were completed she carried out a short cruise along the Mexican Coast, before moving north to support the Patrol Wing Support Force, Patrol Squadrons, US Atlantic Fleet from Argentia in Newfoundland, Reykjavik in Iceland and Gungnat Bay in Greenland, a dramatic change from her Caribbean days! This lasted until October 1941 when she returned to Norfolk for repairs. Shen then moved to the west coast of South American, supporting the amphibious patrol aircraft of Patrol Squadron 3 from their base in the Galapagos Islands from 23 December 1941. During this period she covered a large area of the South American coast, reaching as far south as Valparaiso on the coast of Chile.

Anyone who served on her between 22 June-22 July, 1 August-10 October or 18 October-7 December 1941 qualified for the American Defense Service Medal.

At the start of 1942 the Goldsborough was one still officially one of four tenders serving with Patrol Wing Eight, United States Atlantic Fleet, despite being based in a different ocean!

Detail from Battle of Scheveningen by Willem van de Velde the Elder
USS Goldsborough (APD-32), 1944

In June 1942 the Goldsborough passed through the Panama Canal and moved to Honduras, where she took on the commander of Patrol Squadron 3. She was then used as his HQ ship as he attempted to locate any hidden German submarine bases in the area. In late June she boarded the Honduran merchant ships Laguna and Racer, which had been acting suspiciously. From July-September 1942 the Goldsborough operated from Jamaica, where she supported aircraft covering convoys in the waters between Cuba and the Panama Canal.

At the end of October the Goldsborough escorted the seaplane tender Pocomoke (AV-9) to Panama and the seaplane tender Albermarle (AV-5) to San Juan (Peutro Rico), Trinidid and Bermuda. She then spent the next year escorting the Albermarle as she carried supplies and aircraft to the Fleet Air Wings at Guantanamo Bay, Trinidad, Bermuda, San Juan and Recife (Brazil). This duty lasted until 5 September 1943.

This was followed by a short period of anti-submarine warfare, working with the task group built around the carrier USS Core (CVE-13). The first patrol lasted from 5 October-15 November 1943. Soon afterwards, on 1 December, she was redesignated as DD-188. The second patrol lasted from 4 December 1943 to 18 January 1944. Close to midnight on 2 January 1944 the Goldsborough made visual contact with a U-boat near the Azores. An attempt to ram only just failed, and she carried out two depth charge attacks before contact was lost.

Next came a brief spell of escort duty, before on 21 February 1944 the Goldsborough entered the Charleston Navy Yard, where she was converted into a high speed transport. On 7 March 1944 she was redesignated as APD-32.

The Goldsborough reached Pearl Harbor on 9 May 1944, where she took part in amphibious assault training. She then sailed to join the invasion force gathering to attack Saipan. She arrived off the invasion beaches on 15 June 1944, where she helped fight off a Japanese air raid. On 16 June she landed the 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, just to the south of Charon Kanoa on Saipan. She then spent the next five weeks escorting convoys as they brought supplies and reinforcements from the Marshalls to Saipan. She also took part in two direct fire missions, on the nights of 29 June and 7 July.

On 28 July the Goldsborough left Saipan to return to Hawaii to train with Underwater Demolition Team 4. She then took part in the invasion of Leyte. On 18 October 1944 she landed her demolition team at Dulag, supporting them with covering fire. During this mission she was hit by a 75mm shell that killed two and wounded sixteen. She then formed part of the screen for the battleships and cruisers of the bombardment force, as well as carrying out her own bombardment on the night of 19-20 October. She then supported the invasion itself on 20 October. On 21 October she left Leyte to collect more troops from Noemfoor, landing them at Tolasa on Leyte on 18 November. She repeated this trip between 19 December and 6 January 1945.

The Goldsborough then formed part of the screen at the entrance to Lingayen Gulf on Luzon. On 12 January she sent a medical team to the damaged Gilligan, before narrowly avoiding a kamikaze attack herself.

After brief repairs the Goldsborough landed troops on Iwo Jima (3-6 March 1945). She then moved to the Solomons to pick up troops heading for Okinawa.

The Goldsborough arrived off Okinawa on 11 April. On 12 April she came under aerial attack, and on 14 April she left for Guam. She returned to Okinawa on 15 May and carried out patrols off Haguski beach until 31 May.

On 1 May 1945 the Goldsborough was one of APDS in Transport Division 102 (ComTransDiv 102), in the Pacific Fleet.

The action off Hagusaki ended her active career. She returned to California, reaching San Pedro on 1 July. She was redesignated as a destroyer (DD-188) on 10 July, but any conversion work was incomplete at the end of the war. She was decommissioned on 11 October 1945, struck off on 24 October and sold for scrap on 21 November 1946.

The Goldsborough received five battle stars during the Second World War, for Saipan, Tinian, Leyte, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)


2-shaft Westinghouse geared tubines
4 boilers
27,000shp (design)


2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt


 - deck



314ft 4in


30ft 10.5in


Four 4in/ 50 guns
One 3in/23 AA gun
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple mountings
Two depth charge tracks
One Y-Gun depth charge projector

Crew complement



20 November 1918


26 January 1920


Sold for scrap 21 Nov 1946

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 July 2018), USS Goldsborough (DD-188/ AVP-18/ AVD-5/ APD-32) ,

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