Frank Brooks Upham, born on 7 September 1872 at Ft. Apache, Ariz., was appointed to the Naval Academy on 6 September 1889 and graduated on 2 June 1893. Following the completion of the two required years of postgraduate sea duty (which he served on the Pacific Station in protected cruiser Philadelphia) Upham was commissioned an ensign on 1 July 1895 and joined Olympia (Cruiser No. 6) on 18 July before she sailed for the Far East to become the flagship of the Asiatic Squadron. At the time of the Spanish-American War, Upham was on the staff of the Commander in Chief, Asiastic Squadron, Commodore George Dewey; and the young officer received his baptism of fire during the Battle of Manila Bay.
He advanced up the officer ranks of the Navy, eventually attaining flag rank in 1927. During the years before World War I, Upham's sea duty embraced tours in Oregon (Battleship No. 3), New Jersey (Battleship No. 16), and South Dakota (Armored Cruiser No. 9) ; he also commanded Olympia and the yacht Scorpion. He served tours of duty ashore at Newport, R.I., at the Naval War College and in Washington at the Bureau of Ordnance. His overseas shore duty began in the summer of 1911 when he took up the duties of Assistant Naval Attache at Tokyo and Peking, shortly before the outbreak of the Chinese Revolution in October of that year.
During World War I, Upham commanded Columbia (Cruiser No. 12) and Pueblo (Armored Cruiser No. 7) and received the Navy Cross for commanding the latter during the "difficult, exacting, and hazardous" convoy escort missions across the Atlantic.
In the years following the Armistice, Capt. Upham was Chief of Staff to the Commander, Battleship Force, Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Hilary P. Jones, before serving successive tours of shore duty: in Paris as naval attache and in Washington assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence. He commanded Tennessee (BB-43) from September 1924 to March 1926 and subsequently filled the billet of commandant of the naval air station at Pensacola, Fla. He capitalized on this assignment to earn his naval aviation observer's wings. Reaching flag rank in June 1927, Upham successively commanded Battleship Division 3 and Submarine Divisions, Control Force, and served as Chief of the Bureau of Navigation.
Given the temporary rank of admiral on 18 August 1933, Upham returned to the Far East as Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet, and broke his flag in cruiser Augusta (CA-31) commanded by Capt. (later Fleet Admiral) Chester W. Nimitz. Relieved by Admiral Orin G. Murfin in October 1935, Upham returned to the United States to serve as chairman of the General Board from 20 December 1935 to 30 September 1936. Placed on the retired list on 1 October 1936, Rear Admiral Upham died in San Francisco, Calif., on 15 September 1939.
(APD-99: displacement 1,390; length 306'0"; beam 37'0:; draft 12'7"; speed 24 knots; complement 204; troops 162; armament 1 5-inch, 6 40 millimeter, 6 20 millimeter, 2 depth charge tracks; class Crosley)
Upham (DE-283) was laid down on 13 December 1943 at Charleston, S.C., by the Charleston Navy Yard; launched on 9 March 1944; and sponsored by Mrs. Mabel Upham, the widow of Admiral Upham. The ship was redesignated APD-99 on 17 July 1944 and was converted to a high-speed transport by the Charleston Navy Yard. She was commissioned on 23 July 1945, Lt. Richard E. Farwell, DE, USNR, in command.
Upham conducted her shakedown training in Guan-tanamo Bay, Cuba, from 8 August to 10 September 1945; during the cruise, the war in the Pacific came to an end with Japan's capitulation in mid-August. Thus, too late to participate in combat, the high speed transport exercised with an operational training unit in Chesapeake Bay until 5 October. She then served a brief tour of training duty out of Miami, Fla., from 8 to 22 October.
Then, shifting north to Hampton Roads, Upham reached Norfolk in time for Navy Day celebrations before sailing for Jacksonville, Fla., to prepare for inactivation.
Decommissioned on 25 April 1946, Upham was placed in the Reserve Fleet group on the St. John's River at Green Cove Springs, Fla. The ship remained inactive until stricken from the Navy Register on 1 June 1960.
Sold to the government of Colombia in January 1962, the erstwhile high speed transport was converted for service as a floating power station and, while not carried on the Colombian Navy list, presumably served in that capacity into the 1970's.
Robert J. Cressman
Updated, 19 July 2022