Navy ship to be named for Filipino sailor Telesforo Trinidad

June 15, 2022

Congressman Peters was pleased to hear that the Department of Defense heard our call and will name a ship after the only Filipino-American in the Navy to be awarded the Medal of Honor, Telesforo De La Cruz Trinidad. The USS Telesforo Trinidad will honor his legacy of bravery.

Read more in this May 19 piece by the San Diego Union-Tribune, posted below:

Endorsement: Navy ship to be named for Filipino sailor Telesforo Trinidad

By Associated Press

May 19, 2022

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced Thursday that a future destroyer will be named the USS Telesforo Trinidad in honor of a Filipino sailor who rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than a century ago.

Fireman Telesforo De La Cruz Trinidad is the only Filipino in the U.S. Navy to be awarded the Medal of Honor. He received the honor for his actions on the USS San Diego in 1915 and at a time when it could be awarded for noncombat valor.

“Since being sworn in as Secretary, I have wanted to honor his heroic actions by naming a ship after him,” Del Toro said in a statement released Thursday. “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.”

The news cheered Asian Americans, veterans and civilians in both the U.S. and the Philippines who had urged the naming. They said a named ship would also honor the tens of thousands of Filipinos and Americans of Filipino descent who have served in the U.S. Navy since 1901, when the Philippines was a United States territory.

Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-San Diego, was the lead signatory of a letter sent to the acting secretary of the Navy last May urging that a ship be named in Trinidad’s honor. San Diego-area Reps. Mike Levin, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas were among the 10 congressional members who co-signed the letter.

On Thursday, Jacobs applauded Del Toro’s announcement.

“This has been so important to folks in San Diego, especially in our Filipino community. The USS Telesforo Trinidad will honor Fireman Trinidad’s selflessness, bravery, and service, and will also, at last, uplift the proud history of Filipino and Asian American military service,” said Jacobs.

Trinidad, who died in 1968 at age 77, was aboard the USS San Diego in January 1915 when boilers exploded, killing nine. He was among the more than 250,000 Filipino soldiers who served in World War II, including thousands who died during the brutal 1942 Bataan Death March in the Philippines.

A future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will bear Trinidad’s name, Del Toro said. Thursday’s statement said the destroyers are the backbone of the U.S. Navy’s surface fleet.

In January 2020, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly named a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier after Doris “Dorie” Miller, an African American enlisted sailor who received the Navy Cross for his actions during Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.



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