Just about 81 years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the frame of Army send healthier Claude Ralph Garcia returned house to Ventura County, bringing closure to a demise that shocked a close-knit army circle of relatives.
The long-delayed adventure house started a yr in the past when Ric Ruffinelli won a letter within the mail about his great-uncle who died right through the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Garcia was once aboard the USS West Virginia on Dec. 7, 1941, when Eastern bombers attacked the naval base, sinking the battleship and in doing so introduced the USA into International Warfare II.
100 and 6 sailors aboard the send died on account of the assault, together with Garcia, who was once 25. Garcia’s brother, every other Army sailor, watched the send sink and discovered he would by no means see his brother once more.
The letter Ruffinelli held from the USA Army claimed they had been in search of Garcia’s kin, as a result of his stays had been exhumed from a memorial website the place he remained unidentified for over 80 years. Ruffinelli was once skeptical in the beginning.
“A couple of month later, I were given a choice from a person on the Division of the Army. They had been extremely credible,” Ruffinelli mentioned. “They usually sought after DNA samples.”
Officers had been ready to ensure Garcia’s identification with Ruffinelli and his sister’s DNA.
“I will’t talk extremely sufficient of the Division of the Army for all of the efforts that they have got long past via,” Ruffinelli mentioned. “I imply, 81 years later, my goodness’ sake. I simply I take my hat off to them. I’m in awe of the efforts they put forth.”
Garcia’s stays arrived Tuesday at Los Angeles Global Airport in a flag-draped casket. He was once accompanied by way of the Honor Guard, consistent with Laura Herzog, a veteran’s suggest with the nonprofit group Honoring Our Fallen.
Veterans with American Airways, native regulation enforcement and primary responders attended the solemn arrival and American flags had been draped over highway overpasses because the casket was once transported to Ivy Garden Memorial Park in Ventura. Garcia might be buried in a non-public circle of relatives rite.
Herzog hopes that the procession impressed some motorists at the 405 Highway to mirror at the sacrifices taken by way of provider participants like Garcia.
“Identical to I didn’t know Claude’s tale, I didn’t know Claude’s circle of relatives, however he died for my freedom,” Herzog mentioned. “Freedom isn’t loose. It isn’t loose nowadays and it wasn’t loose then.”
CBS 2 information first reported about Garcia’s homecoming.
Garcia died six years sooner than Ruffinelli was once born, however he can recall his great-uncle, Bob Garcia, and his great-grandmother discuss their liked person who by no means got here house from the conflict. Ruffinelli’s grandmother was once Garcia’s sister.
Garcia’s brother was once additionally at Pearl Harbor the day the USS West Virginia was once attacked and sank. The brothers noticed each and every different the night time sooner than the assault, Ruffinelli mentioned. Tomorrow Bob Garcia watched because the send was once torpedoed and bombed.
“So, he in point of fact didn’t like to speak about it very a lot,” Ruffinelli mentioned. “There have been only a few circumstances the place they even shared the rest about him. And I believe that the emotional affect of his demise was once simply in point of fact past comprehension.”
What Ruffinelli may gleam from circle of relatives tales was once that his uncle Claude was once an athlete who went to Ventura Top Faculty, however didn’t know what he sought after to do along with his existence after faculty. He ended up enlisting within the Army to search out route.
After the USS West Virginia was once sunk in Pearl Harbor, it was once repaired and taken again to the skin. Army information display the stays of 66 males trapped within the decrease decks had been later found out. No less than 3 males survived for 16 days sooner than their oxygen ran out, consistent with reputable information.
Garcia’s stays had been laid to leisure on the Nationwide Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific or “Punchbowl” because it’s situated within the Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu. However over a yr in the past, the stays of the sailors had been exhumed and Army officers started the hard paintings of figuring out the boys. The Protection POW/MIA Accounting Company labored with Garcia’s circle of relatives to spot his stays, Ruffinelli mentioned.
The assault on Pearl Harbor killed 2,335 army workforce. Whilst Ruffinelli by no means met his great-uncle, he mentioned he seems like Garcia’s position in historical past has been introduced into focal point.