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Telesforo Trinidad - Medal of Honor

Fireman Second Class Telesforo Trinidad is the only Filipino in the U.S. Navy to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Born on 25 November 1890 in Aklan Province, Panay, Philippine Islands, Trinidad enlisted in the U.S. Navy after the United States took possession of the archipelago in the wake of the Spanish-American War.

On 21 January 1915, while steaming in the Gulf of California as part of the naval patrol established to protect U.S. interests and citizens in México, the captain of San Diego (Armored Cruiser No. 6) decided to conduct a four-hour full-speed and endurance trial to determine if the cruiser could still maintain its officially rated flank speed. At the end of the trials an obstructed tube of one of the ship's boilers gave way, creating an eventual chain reaction of other boilers. The first explosion, in the No. 2 boiler, forced Trinidad from the fireroom as Ensign R. W. Cary, Jr. was closing the door. Trinidad then realized that his crewmate, Fireman Second Class R. W. Daly, was still inside. Risking his own life, Trinidad re-entered the smoke-filled fireroom and carried him out to safety while Ensign Cary secured the door. However, as Trinidad carried Daly through the No. 4 fireroom, an explosion of the No. 3 boiler hit Trinidad, burning him in the face. After seeing Daly to safety and in spite of his own injury, Trinidad then assisted in rescuing another injured crewman from the No. 3 fireroom.

In gratitude for his bravery, the Navy awarded Trinidad the Medal of Honor and a $100 gratuity. Trinidad survived the ordeal and lived a long life, finally passing away at the age of 77 on 8 May 1968 in Imus, Cavite, Republic of the Philippines.

Published: Fri May 13 09:22:49 EDT 2022