The third ship named USS Aaron Ward (DD-773/DM-34) in honor of Rear Admiral Aaron Ward was a Robert H. Smith-class destroyer minelayer in the service of the United States Navy.
She was laid down on as an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer (DD-773) on 12 December 1943 at San Pedro, California by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, launched on 5 May 1944, sponsored by Mrs. G. H. Ratliff, redesignated a destroyer minelayer, DM-34 on 19 July 1944, and commissioned on 28 October 1944 with Commander William H. Sanders, Jr. in command.
Between commissioning and the end of January 1945, Aaron Ward completed fitting out and conducted her shakedown cruise off the California coast. On 9 February, she departed San Pedro, bound for Pearl Harbor where she arrived on 15 February. The warship conducted additional training in Hawaiian waters before loading supplies and ammunition and getting underway on 5 March to join the US 5th Fleet at Ulithi. She entered the lagoon of that atoll in the Western Carolines on 16 March but put to sea again on 19 March with Task Force 52 bound for the Ryukyu Islands.