Filipino Sailors in the U.S. Navy Transcript

Narrator: During Intrepid’s time in service, thousands of Filipino citizens enlisted and served in the U.S. Navy. Many were drawn to the Navy because of limited economic opportunities in the Philippines.

Diosdado Gelle: Me joining the Navy, of course, is every young Filipino kid’s dream because we get to see the world and have a regular job that can help your family.

Leonardo Pastor: In the Philippines, if you happen to be admitted in the Navy, you’ve got to consider yourself as hitting the jackpot.

Germiniano Tubao: I took the exam. And out of five hundred, I was one of the lucky nineteen people that was qualified and sworn in.

Gelle: I was assigned to the USS Intrepid. And I served in the wardroom, serving meals and cleaning staterooms as a stewardsman.

Tubao: We are mixed people in that area. We got Black people, we have Guamanian, and Filipinos. We don’t have white stewards.

Pastor: So that’s something that I noticed. But I said well, again, maybe this is how the world is, how they assign jobs and all that.

Tubao: I know now that this is the only job that they’re giving us due to the fact that we are not U.S. citizens.

Pastor: Some of my friends, they’re complaining about it. They don’t want to do it.

Gelle: I want to get out of that environment. I thought that will be my job forever, serving food and cleaning staterooms.

Pastor: But in my case, since the reason I joined the Navy is I needed a job. So I told myself, I said, Oh, this is nothing. There is a job. And you are getting paid well.

Tubao: I was the one, also, that voiced our opinion – why we are just stuck around with the stewards, not some other ratings.

Pastor: Many of my fellow Filipinos, they changed their ratings.

Gelle: The dental department needed somebody to strike for dental rating because they need help. And I applied for it, and I was the only one that applied. (laughs) I retired after twenty years as a dental technician chief.

Narrator: Filipino service members re-enlisted at high rates. Many had long Navy careers. After years serving in the U.S. military, many also chose to become U.S. citizens.