Newest U.S. Navy Destroyer To Be Named After Fireman 2nd Class Telesforo De La Cruz Trinidad After Heroic, Medal Of Honor Recipient

Fireman Second Class Telesforo Trinidad

There has only been one Filipino recipient of the Medal of Honor, and his bravery has not been forgotten. He will soon have a Navy destroyer named after him.

Honoring Bravery

According to a Navy press release, the Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyer will be called the USS Telesforo Trinidad, named Fireman 2nd Class Telesforo De La Cruz Trinidad. The Navy describes the destroyers as “the backbone of the U.S. Navy’s surface fleet.”

Trinidad was born in the Philippines in November 1890. He joined the Navy when the Philippines was a U.S. territory after the Spanish-American War. He wanted to join so badly that he “stowed away on a lifeboat” to get to the main island.

According to the Medal of Honor Museum, he served in the military during World War I and II, retiring in 1945. He lived the rest of his days in the Philippines, passing away at 77.

Saving Lives

On January 21, 1915, Trinidad was on the USS San Diego. They were in the Gulf of California, and the captain decided to run a “four-hour, full-speed and endurance trial.” An “obstructed tube of one of the ship’s boilers gave way when the trials were done.”

The boiler set off a chain reaction of explosions. The incident killed nine sailors. A blast launched Trinidad out of fire room two, but a sailor was still stuck inside. He went inside to save the sailor, Fireman 2nd Class R.E. Daly without hesitation. He tried to carry Daly to safety, but they were caught in another explosion. According to the museum, his dace was “badly burned.”

He went back to fire room three to save the injured sailor inside. Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels signed off on the medal just a short while after, on April 1, 1915. Many in the Philippines campaigned to honor Trinidad by naming a warship after him and the Filipinos and Americans of Filipino descent who have since served.

“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. … 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.”

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro



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