Hooper was launched by Bethlehem-Pacific Coast Steel Corp., San Francisco, 1 August 1957; sponsored by Miss Elizabeth Hooper, daughter of Rear Admiral Hooper; and commissioned at San Francisco 18 March 1958, Lt. Comdr. J. K. Leslie in command.
One of a new class of fast escort vessels designed for convoy work, Hooper conducted shakedown training out of her home port, San Diego, before deploying with the 7th Fleet. The escort vessel took part in antisubmarine operations and joined the vital Formosa Patrol before returning to the United States 9 April 1959. Through 1961 she continued to operate with the 7th Fleet and in the San Diego area.
In January 1962, Hooper began a two-month assignment as school ship at San Diego for antisubmarine training. Entering the yard at Hunter's Point in March, the ship had her aft 3-inch mount replaced with a helicopter flight deck to increase her versatility, and also had the newest sonar equipment installed. Returning to her regular pattern of deployments to the Far East, Hooper continued to play an important role in keeping the peace in this vital area. In addition to her regular operations, she took part in SEATO maneuvers in the spring of 1963.
After serving in Hawaiian waters, Hooper returned to the Far East in July 1964. During November Hooper patrolled the Taiwan Strait. She returned to San Diego 16 December where she conducted coastal operations through 1965.
On 6 January 1966 Hooper, along with , , and , escorted to Hawaii. She then departed Pearl Harbor 7 February for Yokosuka, Japan, where she arrived 17 February. From 21 February to 18 March, she patrolled the Formosa Strait again. During the next 6 months Hooper operated off Vietnam, contributing to the safety of the government of South Vietnam. On 15 July Hooper departed Yokosuka for San Diego. En route the ship assisted in the search for a downed Royal Thailand Army DC-3 carrying Brigadier General Joseph Stillwell, Jr. The search was fruitless. Arriving at San Diego 22 July, Hooper operated off the West Coast for the remainder of the year and into 1967.