USS Esteem (AM-438/MSO-438) was an Aggressive-class minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the task of removing mines that had been placed in the water to prevent the safe passage of ships.
The first ship to be named Esteem by the Navy, AM-438 was launched 20 December 1952 by Martinolich Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, California; sponsored by Mrs. C. H. Davis; reclassified MSO-438, 7 February 1955; and commissioned 10 September 1955, Lieutenant G. W. Bird in command.
Esteem sailed out of Long Beach, California, her home port, for training in mine warfare and minesweeping exercises along the U.S. West Coast until 4 March 1957, when she departed for her first tour of duty with the U.S. 7th Fleet in the Far East. Along with visiting Japanese and Korean ports and Hong Kong, she exercised with minecraft of the navies of the Republic of China and the Republic of Korea, aiding in the training of friendly forces in new techniques.
Returning to Long Beach in September 1957, Esteem resumed her west coast operations for the next year, then sailed 6 October 1958 for exercises with the Royal Canadian Navy off Nootka Sound, British Columbia. During the next month, she circumnavigated Vancouver Island, and visited several Canadian ports, returning to Long Beach 5 November.
During her 1959-60 tour of duty in the Far East, she again exercised with ships of the Chinese Navy, and also visited Bangkok, Thailand, to train with the Royal Thai navy. On 27 June 1960 she began an overhaul which continued through most of the remainder of the year.