Soon-to-be-built US naval destroyer to be named after Filipino born in Aklan

Published May 20, 2022, 3:35 PM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – A soon-to-be-built naval destroyer in the United States will be named after a Filipino sailor who was born in Aklan.

He was Telesforo De La Cruz Trinidad who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic act in saving the lives of his two crewmates during a boiler explosion on board the USS San Diego (ACR-6) in 1915.

Based on the report, while the USS San Diego was burning in the Gulf of California, Trinidad went back to the boiler section to save Fireman 2nd Class R. W. Daly and another unnamed sailor.

The Filipino’s heroic deed did not go unnoticed.

As part of the celebration for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced that the soon-to-be-built Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be named as USS Telesforo Trinidad (DDG 139).

“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,” said Del Toro.

“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,” added Del Toro.

The May 19 announcement came a year after a Filipino-American advocacy group started lobbying for the recognition of Trinidad’s heroic role on board the USS San Diego in January 1915 during a routine test and training.

Trinidad was born in New Washington town of Aklan province in November 1890.

He joined the US Navy in 1910 as part of the Insular Forces and fought for the Americans during WWI and WWII.

He survived the USS San Diego explosions in 1915 and retired in 1945. According to reports, he spent the rest of his life in Imus, Cavite, until his death in 1968 at the age of 77.