Born 13 May 1844 in Norwich, Vt., George Albert Converse was appointed midshipman 29 November 1861. He was a pioneer in the use of electricity on board men-of-war, in experimentation with and introduction of smokeless powder in the Navy, and in development of torpedo boats. In command of Montgomery from 1897 to 1899 he took an active part in operations off the coast of Cuba with Admiral Sampson's squadron during the Spanish-American War. From 1903 to 1906 he served successively as Chief of the Bureaus of Equipment, Ordnance, and Navigation, continuing as Chief of the latter Bureau for a year after his retirement in 1906. He died in Washington, D.C., 29 March 1909.
(DD-291: dp. 1,215; l. 314'5"; b. 31'8"; dr. 9'4"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 120; a. 4 4", 2 3", 4 21" tt; cl. Belknap)
The first Converse (DD-291) was launched 28 November 1919 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Squantum, Mass.; sponsored by Miss E. C. Colt; commissioned 28 April 1920, Lieutenant Commander E. G. Haas in command; and reported to the Atlantic fleet.
Converse was placed in reserve status 11 June 1920 operating in New England waters with 50 percent of her complement on training cruises for members of the Naval Reserve.
After testing the Arma gyro compass, Converse operated from 15 November 1921 with Scouting Fleet. Returned to full commission 1 July 1922, she cruised on the east coast and in Caribbean waters. Converse sailed from Newport 18 June 1924 to join U.S. Naval Forces in European Waters, visiting Antwerp, Amsterdam, Cherbourg and Southhampton before returning to New York 16 July 1925.
In 1926 and 1927 Converse again served as training ship for the Naval Reserve making two cruises each summer to Newport and the Caribbean. From 23 February 1927 she tested the Flettner rudder during her cruising.
In 1928 Converse was designated as Experimental Ship, Scouting Fleet. She made test runs for the Bureau of Engineering in the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, then fired experimental torpedoes at Newport and Charleston. She rejoined her squadron at Norfolk 4 January 1929 for regular operations until decommissioned at Philadelphia 1 May 1930. She was sold 17 January 1931 to be scrapped in accordance with the London Treaty for the limitation and reduction of naval armaments.