The U.S. implemented military recruitment programs in the Philippines during its occupation of the islands and for the rest of the century. Filipinos joined the Navy with the expectation that they, their wives, and young children would be naturalized as U.S. citizens. In order to qualify for service in the Navy, applicants took an extensive intellectual qualification test. Filipinos began joining the US Navy in 1903—initiating the main pipeline for Filipinx immigration to the US. In the Navy, most Filipinos were stewards working in “the Navy’s floating plantation” (SD Union Tribune, 2015).
Some of the images in the archive tagged with the “U.S. Navy” are inherently visible as records of Filipinos serving in the Navy. Other images, rather, are recreational photos of co-workers out of uniform or snapshots taken in anticipation of a young man’s service. “All Bros” (figure 2) shows a number of young men—all childhood friends of Teofilo—standing in two rows, looking confidently into the camera. Teofilo sits in the center of the photograph. He leans back, nonchalantly tilting his chin upward. Surrounded by his “bros”, as they called each other, Teofilo looks prideful and prepared. The photo was taken as a celebration of Teofilo, before he went to serve in the Navy. It demonstrates the pride that Filipinos felt when entering the service—pride that they qualified, pride that they were chosen, pride that they would soon immigrate to the U.S.