Future US Navy destroyer to be named after decorated Filipino sailor

The US Navy destroyer USS Arleigh Burke in 2013 (Photo: US Navy/Petty Officer 1st Class RJ Stratchko)

US Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro recently confirmed that a future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be named USS Telesforo Trinidad.

The destroyer will honour Fireman 2nd Class Telesforo De La Cruz Trinidad, the only Filipino sailor in the US Navy to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Born in what is now Aklan province in the Philippines’ Western Visayas region, Trinidad was serving aboard the Pennsylvania-class armoured cruiser USS San Diego in Mexican waters on January 21, 1915, when the captain decided to conduct a four-hour, full-speed and endurance trial to determine if the ship could still maintain its officially rated flank speed.

Following the trial, an obstructed tube in one of the ship’s boilers gave way, creating a chain reaction.

Trinidad re-entered the closed space to the number two boiler to save Fireman 2nd Class R. W. Daly. As he was carrying Daly through the number four fireroom, an explosion of number three boiler hit Trinidad, which burned him in the face.

After seeing Daly to safety and despite his injuries, Trinidad then assisted in rescuing another injured shipmate from the number three fireroom.

For his bravery, Trinidad was awarded the Medal of Honor.

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