US warship to be named after Filipino sailor

ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at May 20 2022 08:37 AM | Updated as of May 20 2022 08:59 AM

Watch more News on iWantTFC

History was made today after US Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro announced that a future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be named USS Telesforo Trinidad (DDG 139) in honor of a Filipino sailor who rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than a century ago. 

"My first time learning about Petty Officer Trinidad’s story was as a midshipman at the Naval Academy and since being sworn in as Secretary, I have wanted to honor his heroic actions by naming a ship after him," said Del Toro. 

"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."

Born November 25, 1890 in Aklan, Trinidad showed extraordinary heroism when a boiler exploded on board the USS San Diego in January 21, 1915.

Trinidad was driven out by the explosion but immediately returned to rescue a fellow sailor, Fireman 2nd Class R. W. Daly, who had been injured, taking him to safety. 

"As he was carrying Daly through the No. 4 fireroom, an explosion of No. 3 boiler hit Trinidad, which burned him in the face," the US Navy said. 

Despite his injury, Trinidad assisted in the rescue of another injured shipmate from the No. 3 fireroom. 

For his bravery, the U.S. Navy awarded him the Medal of Honor, becoming the first and only Asian-American thus far to receive the highest possible recognition in the US naval force.

“Having a ship named after such a significant figure highlights our diverse culture and that our people will always be our strategic advantage against any adversary," Del Toro said. 

"I hope the naming of this ship is a beacon for not only Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders but for all our Sailors, Marines, and civilians who serve across the Department of the Navy. The service and sacrifice of these men and women have made our military and our nation stronger and better.”

Watch more News on iWantTFC

Two retired senior military officers, Navy Capt. Ron Ravelo, the only Filipino-American who held command of a US Navy nuclear aircraft carrier, and retired US Air Force Col. Nonie Cabana, led the campaign to name a future US Navy ship after Trinidad.

Historian Cecilia Gaerlan earlier said remembering Trinidad's heroics, especially on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, celebrates the generations of Filipinos who served in uniform.

"We have to recognize that since 1901 when President McKinley signed the executive order creating the insular force, the Filipinos have been officially in the US Navy since 1901, that's 120 years so I think it's about time the Filipinos get recognized for serving the US Navy faithfully and loyally for 120 years," Gaerlan said.