WASHINGTON—The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced that Navy Shipfitter 2nd Class Claude R. Garcia, 25, of Ventura, killed during World War II, was accounted for on May 12, 2022.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Mr. Garcia was assigned to the battleship USS West Virginia, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS West Virginia sustained multiple torpedo hits, but timely counter-flooding measures taken by the crew prevented it from capsizing, and it came to rest on the shallow harbor floor. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 106 crewmen, including Mr. Garcia.
During efforts to salvage the USS West Virginia, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crewmen, representing at least 66 individuals. Those who could not be identified, including Mr. Garcia, were interred as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu.
From June through October 2017, DPAA, in cooperation with cemetery officials, disinterred 35 caskets, reported to be associated with the USS West Virginia from the Punchbowl and transferred the remains to the DPAA laboratory.
To identify Mr. Garcia’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.
Mr. Garcia’s name is recorded in the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Mr. Garcia will be buried in his hometown at a date yet to be determined.
For family and funeral information, contact the Navy Service Casualty office at 800-443-9298.
In a news release, DPAA expressed its gratitude to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of the Navy for their partnership in this mission.
For more information, see www.dpaa.mil, www.facebook.com/dodpaa or www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.
Mr. Garcia’s personnel profile can be viewed at dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt000000BbK3DEAV.