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US Asian Americans lobby to name Navy ship for Filipino sailor

07:30  23 june  2021
07:30  23 june  2021 Source:   msn.com

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Asians Americans , veterans and civilians in the U.S. and the Philippines are campaigning to name a Navy warship for a Filipino sailor who bravely rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than century ago, earning him a prestigious and rare Medal of Honor. Supporters say naming a ship for Telesforo Trinidad would honor not just the only Asian American in the U.S. Navy granted the nation’s highest award for valor, but 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

Three active Navy ships are named for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Chung-Hoon and USS Daniel Inouye are named in honor of Rear Adm. Gordon Pai'ea Chung-Hoon, recipient of the Navy Cross and the Silver Star, and the late Sen. The Philippines -based veterans’ efforts to honor Trinidad support a campaign led by a group of retired Filipino American military officers, including former Air Force Col. Nonie Cabana and former Navy Capt. Ronald Ravelo, the only Filipino American to have commanded a nuclear-powered aircraft

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Asians Americans, veterans and civilians in the U.S. and the Philippines are campaigning to name a Navy warship for a Filipino sailor who bravely rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than a century ago, earning him a prestigious and rare Medal of Honor.

In this 1923 photo provided by the Filipino American National Historic Society are Filipino sailors in an unknown location. Asians Americans, veterans and civilians in the U.S. and the Philippines are campaigning to name a Navy warship for a Filipino sailor who bravely rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than century ago, earning him a prestigious and rare Medal of Honor. (Filipino American National Historic Society via AP): Navy Ship Name Filipino © Provided by Associated Press Navy Ship Name Filipino

Supporters say naming a ship for Telesforo Trinidad would honor not just the only Asian American in the U.S. Navy granted the nation's highest award for valor, but 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.

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Filipino seamen, also referred to as Filipino seafarers or Filipino sailors , are seamen, sailors , or seafarers from the Philippines . Although, in general, the term " Filipino seamen" may include personnel from the Philippine Navy or the Philippine Marine Corps

Filipino Americans were the earliest recorded Asian - Americans to serve in the United States Army. Map of the Battle of New Orleans, where Filipino Americans , known as "Manilamen", played a decisive role in 1815 during the War of 1812 in manning the artillery defenses, which allowed Filipino American , Felix Cornelius Balderry, served in the Union's Michigan 11th Infantry.[34] Other Filipino Americans served in the U.S. Navy aboard the Little Ada, the Conemaugh, and other ships .[35][17]. There are accounts of Filipino Americans serving in Louisiana with the Confederacy during the Civil

“I don’t believe it's a long shot at all; it may be a long timeline, but we’re hoping it’s not," said retired Navy Capt. Ron Ravelo and chair of the campaign. “We're going to be making Navy ships into the foreseeable future, and there’s no reason one of those can't bear the name of Telesforo Trinidad.”

Trinidad, who died in 1968 at age 77, was so eager to join the U.S. Navy that he stowed away on a lifeboat from his home island of Panay to the main island to enlist, said grandson Rene Trinidad. In 1915, while on patrol on the USS San Diego, he risked his life and suffered burns to rescue two crewmates when boilers exploded, killing nine. He received the medal that year, at a time when the honor could be awarded for noncombat valor.

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 1915, file photo, made available by the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command shows the USS San Diego while serving as flagship of the Pacific Fleet. Asian Americans, veterans and civilians in the U.S. and the Philippines are campaigning to name a Navy warship for a Filipino sailor on the USS San Diego who bravely rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than century ago, earning him a prestigious and rare Medal of Honor. (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command via AP, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Jan. 28, 1915, file photo, made available by the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command shows the USS San Diego while serving as flagship of the Pacific Fleet. Asian Americans, veterans and civilians in the U.S. and the Philippines are campaigning to name a Navy warship for a Filipino sailor on the USS San Diego who bravely rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than century ago, earning him a prestigious and rare Medal of Honor. (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command via AP, File)

Rene Trinidad, a real estate agent in Southern California, recalls his grandfather was a man of few words.

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The history of Filipino Americans begins in the 16th century when Filipinos first arrived in what is now the United States. The first Filipinos came to what is now the United States due to the Philippines being part of New Spain.

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“He let his actions speak for himself,” he said, “and I suppose that’s why he did what he did.”

The campaign has grassroots enthusiasm, and support from Democratic Congress members who sent a letter last month to Thomas Harker, acting secretary of the Navy.

Traditionally, different types of ships have different naming conventions, but there are exceptions, said Samuel J. Cox, retired rear admiral and director of the Naval History and Heritage Command, which suggests names and has previously submitted Trinidad’s for consideration. The secretary of the Navy has final authority and discretion to name and rename ships, he said.

Some memorialize states, U.S. cities, Navy heroes or distinguished Americans. The number of Navy ships receiving names varies widely by year but averages roughly to about eight, of which three or four are named for people, Cox said.

In this 1939 photo provided by the Trinidad family is Telesforo Trinidad in the Philippines. Asian Americans, veterans and civilians in the U.S. and the Philippines are campaigning to name a Navy warship for the Filipino sailor who bravely rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than century ago, earning him a prestigious and rare Medal of Honor. (Trinidad Family via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this 1939 photo provided by the Trinidad family is Telesforo Trinidad in the Philippines. Asian Americans, veterans and civilians in the U.S. and the Philippines are campaigning to name a Navy warship for the Filipino sailor who bravely rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than century ago, earning him a prestigious and rare Medal of Honor. (Trinidad Family via AP)

“There simply are far too many heroes compared to the number of ships to be named,” he said.

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South American nations, 8 European nations, 3 African nations, and 3 North American nations.[14]:115 In 2003, the PLAN conducted its first joint naval exercises during separate visits to Pakistan and India. Bi-lateral naval exercises were also carried out with exercises with the French, British, Australian, Canadian, Philippine, and United States navies .[14]:116. Sailors from the U.S. Navy talk with Chinese Navy sailors from the destroyer Xi'an after the Rim of the Pacific 2016 (RIMPAC 2016) exercise.

Norman Polmar, author and naval analyst, agrees.

“And I hate to say this, I’m getting a little pain when I say this: Increasingly it becomes political — what party you’re in and who’s in the White House, and occasionally the White House gets involved,” Polmar said.

Former U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus drew controversy after naming naval ships for former U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords; the late gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk of San Francisco; and the late farmworker activist Cesar Chavez. The honoring of Giffords broke more modern traditions that the person be dead or old.

Critics also said there were plenty of heroic service members to choose from. Mabus said his picks also demonstrated heroism.

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.

The naming did not sit well with critics who say Miller deserves to have a ship named after him, but not an elite aircraft carrier bearing the names of presidents. There's also ongoing debate over ships named for the Civil War Confederacy.

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Cecilia Gaerlan, Trinidad campaign board member, said they would like a Navy surface combatant, such as a destroyer or frigate, named for the fireman second class. The naming would be a symbol of the Navy's commitment to "diversity, equality and inclusion during this time of national racial tensions and unwarranted violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. Sara Jacobs of California, in a May letter to Harker signed by 10 others.

In this 1926 photo provided by the Rita M. Cacas Filipino American Community Archives, University of Maryland, are Filipino sailors in athletic uniforms at US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Asian Americans, veterans and civilians in the U.S. and the Philippines are campaigning to name a Navy warship for a Filipino sailor who bravely rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than century ago, earning him a prestigious and rare Medal of Honor. (Rita M. Cacas Filipino American Community Archives, University of Maryland via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this 1926 photo provided by the Rita M. Cacas Filipino American Community Archives, University of Maryland, are Filipino sailors in athletic uniforms at US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Asian Americans, veterans and civilians in the U.S. and the Philippines are campaigning to name a Navy warship for a Filipino sailor who bravely rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than century ago, earning him a prestigious and rare Medal of Honor. (Rita M. Cacas Filipino American Community Archives, University of Maryland via AP)

There are other Navy vessels named for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including the USS Daniel Inouye, a destroyer. The former U.S. senator received the Medal of Honor as part of the celebrated 442nd Infantry Regiment, made up of Americans of Japanese descent whose families were incarcerated in camps during World War II.

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There was a U.S. Navy a ship named for a Filipino person, but Gaerlan says the USS Rizal, a destroyer in service from 1919 to 1931, was donated by the Philippine Legislature and honors José Rizal, a national hero who never served in the military.

In this Aug. 1, 1945 photo, provided by the President Truman Library, President Harry S. Truman, in the third row, second from right, stands with members of his party and unidentified Filipino stewards during the Potsdam conference in Germany. Asian Americans, veterans and civilians in the U.S. and the Philippines are campaigning to name a Navy warship for a Filipino sailor who bravely rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than century ago, earning him a prestigious and rare Medal of Honor. (President Truman Library via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this Aug. 1, 1945 photo, provided by the President Truman Library, President Harry S. Truman, in the third row, second from right, stands with members of his party and unidentified Filipino stewards during the Potsdam conference in Germany. Asian Americans, veterans and civilians in the U.S. and the Philippines are campaigning to name a Navy warship for a Filipino sailor who bravely rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than century ago, earning him a prestigious and rare Medal of Honor. (President Truman Library via AP)

More than two dozen Asian and Pacific Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor since its creation during the Civil War, mostly in the U.S. Army, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. There are roughly 3,500 recipients.

Telesforo Trinidad, born in 1890, enlisted in 1910 in the Insular Force established by then-President William McKinley and served in both world wars. More than 250,000 Filipino soldiers served in World War II, and thousands died during the brutal 1942 Bataan Death March in the Philippines.

Rene Trinidad, 65, said it goes against his cultural upbringing to call attention to his grandfather's heroism, but his late father wanted the recognition for his father, who overcame hardship, merited a medal and worked hard to provide for his family. Two sons followed him into the U.S. Navy.

“The bottom line is that Filipinos be recognized for their contribution to the United States, and that every Filipino should be proud of that as well,” he said.

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