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US warship named after Filipino sailor Telesforo Trinidad

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
US warship named after Filipino sailor Telesforo Trinidad
The guided missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) steams through the Mediterranean Sea.
Journalist 2nd Class Patrick Reilly / Wikimedia Commons

MANILA, Philippines — The United States named a warship in honor of Panay-born sailor Telesforo De La Cruz Trinidad, the first Filipino to be awarded the medal of honor for his bravery in the American navy. 

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said in a statement Friday that their new Arleigh Burke-class destroyer will be named "USS Telesforo Trinidad (DDG 139)." Trinidad held the rank Fireman Second Class. 

This comes as the US celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month. 

“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,” Del Toro said. 

“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," he added.

Del Toro believes the new ship and crew will help in enhancing the US' maritime superiority.

Trinidad was born in Aklan province, Panay on Nov. 25, 1890. Twenty five years later, he rescued two injured shipmates while they were abroad the USS San Diego, where an obstructed tube in one of the ship's boilers caused other boilers to explode. 

One of the explosions burned Trinidad in the face, but he continued rescuing his shipmate. Because of his heroism, the US Navy awarded him the medal of honor in 1915. 

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers form the backbone of the Navy's surface fleet.

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