ARLINGTON, VA — Three rifle volleys fired in the distance, the sound of a lone bugler playing the taps, while the American flag that draped Belino Guzman’s casket was neatly folded and presented to his wife, Fe, by a Navy honor guard.
Petty officer first class Belino Calderon Guzman – a Fil-Am veteran of the U.S. Navy was laid to rest with full military honors at the Arlington national cemetery in Virginia last Thursday.
“To be able to be interred in one of the most hallowed grounds in the U.S. Arlington cemetery you have heroes that are buried there, you have John F. Kennedy, you have giants of the Supreme Court, you have military generals and admirals,” said his son, Jon Guzman.
Belino was the first of the Guzman clan to come to America via U.S. Navy recruitment in the Philippines in the 60’s.
Between 1952 to 1990, more than 34,000 Filipinos enlisted in the Navy – Filipinos were the only foreign nationals allowed to enlist without first immigrating to the U.S.
When the military bases agreement were terminated in the Philippines in the 90’s – recruitment stopped.
Belino eventually worked as a recruiter for the navy and helped hundreds more Filipinos to fulfill their own American dreams.
“All of my family that is here today in the U.S. is because of him,” said Jason. “Whenever I’m able to help somebody else, get better, do better in life, get promoted to the ranks, go to college, that’s my dad’s legacy.”
Brian Guzman, a Navy nurse, says one thing his dad taught him was the value of hard work.
Those things he instilled in me, working hard, doing it faithfully, doing it honorably, having the courage to speak up for yourself.
After nearly a six-month wait for approval from the Arlington National Cemetery, US Navy officer Belino Guzman was laid to rest among 400,000 others who served, defended and protected America.
A final resting place fit for a Filipino father and U.S. Navy Veteran who selflessly devoted his time to help hundreds of others find and fulfill their own American dreams.