Abel P. Upshur, 1931; CG Destroyer CG-15

March 31, 2020

Abel P. Upshur, 1931; CG Destroyer CG-15

USCGD Upshur (Abel P.) (CG-15)

Named for the Abel P. Upshur (1790-1844) who served as the 13th Secretary of the Navy from 11 October 1841 to 23 July 1843.

Displacement: 1,190 tons

Dimensions: 314' 5" overall x 31’ 9" x 9’10" draft

Machinery: Geared turbines, 2 screws, 26,500 hp, 35 knots

Complement: 101 (USN)

Armament: 5-4"/50 (USN)

Built: Newport News Shipbuilding Company, Newport News, VA Commissioned (USN): 23 Nov 1920 Acquired: 5 Nov 1930 Commissioned (USCG): 12 Jan 1931

Decommissioned: 21 May 1934

A total of thirty-one Navy destroyers were lent to the Coast Guard for the enforcement of Prohibition. The vessels ranged from the prewar 742-ton "flivvers" to the postwar four-stack flush deckers like Badger. Adapting these vessels to service was thought to be less costly than building new ships. The wartime service and exceedingly poor condition of earlier destroyer classes often required nearly a year of reconditioning before they were seaworthy. The flush-deckers, not having had wartime service, were in much better condition. As a result, they were more quickly reconditioned for anti-bootlegging patrols. These vessels were also by far the largest and most sophisticated vessels ever operated by the service. Trained personnel were nearly nonexistent. Congress authorized hundreds of new enlistees. It was these inexperienced men that generally made up the crews of these vessels. All were capable of over 25 knots, an advantage in the rum-chasing business, but they were easily outmaneuvered by smaller boats. As a result, the destroyers’ mission was to picket the larger supply ships ("mother ships") and prevent them from off-loading their cargo onto smaller, speedier contact boats.

Upshur was the first of the flush-deck destroyers to be commissioned in the Coast Guard. She was stationed at New York and took part in the Cuban Expedition in 1933.

Operational Highlights:

5 Nov 1930 US Navy turned Abel P. Upshur over to Coast Guard at Philadelphia Navy Yard.

12 Jan 1931 Commissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard.

14 Jan 1931 Departed Philadelphia for her permanent station at Stapleton, NY.

1933 Cuban Expedition

7 Sep 1933 Discontinued target practice at Hampton Roads, VA and left for Key West, FL.

9 Sep 1933 Arrived in Key West, FL for duty with the US Navy.

6 Nov 1933 Released from duty with the US Navy. Directed to return to duty in the Eastern Area.

21 May 1934 Decommissioned and returned to the US Navy.