Meet Telesforo Trinidad, the Filipino hero who the US Navy will name its new destroyer after

Telesforo Trinidad
  • The U.S. Navy is set to name its future Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer after Filipino medal of honor awardee Telesforo De La Cruz Trinidad.
  • In January 1915, Trinidad exhibited heroism aboard the USS San Diego when he helped crew members get to safety after the ship’s boilers exploded.
  • “Since being sworn in as Secretary, I have wanted to honor his heroic actions by naming a ship after him,” U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said in a statement. “This ship and her future crew will be a critical piece in strengthening our maritime superiority while also emphasizing the rich culture and history of our naval heritage.”
  • Asian American advocates in the U.S. and the Philippines have long pushed for such an honor.
  • Some made a case that it would also recognize the hundreds of thousands of other Filipinos and Filipino Americans who have served in the U.S. Navy since 1901.

A new U.S. Navy ship is set to bear the name USS Telesforo Trinidad in honor of a Filipino sailor who rescued two crew members in the 1900s.

Fireman Telesforo De La Cruz Trinidad, who died in 1968 at 77, has maintained the distinction of being the only Filipino in the U.S. Navy to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

In January 1915, Trinidad exhibited heroism aboard the USS San Diego when he helped crew members get to safety after the ship’s boilers exploded.  

The citation of his award reads: “For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession at the time of the boiler explosion on board the U.S.S. San Diego, 21 January 1915. Trinidad was driven out of fireroom No. 2 by the explosion, but at once returned and picked up R.E. Daly, fireman, second class, whom he saw to be injured, and proceeded to bring him out. While coming into No. 4 fireroom, Trinidad was just in time to catch the explosion in No. 3 fireroom, but without consideration for his own safety, passed Daly on and then assisted in rescuing another injured man from No. 3 fireroom. Trinidad was himself burned about the face by the blast from the explosion in No. 3 fireroom.”

The recognition, the nation’s highest military award, was given in 1915 when the medal could still be awarded for non-combat valor.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro released a statement about the naming of the new ship. 

“Since being sworn in as Secretary, I have wanted to honor his heroic actions by naming a ship after him,” Del Toro said. “This ship and her future crew will be a critical piece in strengthening our maritime superiority while also emphasizing the rich culture and history of our naval heritage.”

According to Del Toro, Trinidad’s ship is a future Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. The destroyers are the backbone of the U.S. Navy’s surface fleet, he said.

Asian American advocates in the U.S. and the Philippines have long pushed for such an honor. Some made a case that it would also recognize the hundreds of thousands of other Filipinos and Filipino Americans who have served in the U.S. Navy since 1901.

 

Featured Image via Telesforo Trinidad (left), U.S. Military News (right)

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