By Buddy Blouin
A U.S. Navy Sailor has finally been identified after all these years. There were many Pearl Harbor deaths, and now one of them, the remains of Shipfitter 2nd Class Claude Ralph Garcia, has been identified. Along with many Pearl Harbor Sailors, many as 72,000 people were unaccounted for following World War II, but now closure has come to Garcia’s service and life. His sacrifice, as well as the sacrifices of thousands of others that day, are a testament to the dedication and service that those who enlist exemplify day in and day out.

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How Many Sailors Died at Pearl Harbor?

2,390 members of the American Armed Forces and civilians died during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Pearl Harbor death toll is an astounding amount due to the cowardly, surprising nature of the attack. On December 7, 1941, the day that continues to live in infamy, the Japanese attacked the military installation, effectively dragging the United States into the Second World War. The result would end in devastating warfare throughout the Pacific region in what would become known as the Pacific Theater.

Claude Ralph Garcia Served on the USS West Virginia

A man killed at Pearl Harbor was a Navy Sailor from California, says new evidence. Because of upgrades in technology, his DNA was able to reveal his true identity, despite having been laid to rest decades ago. Claude Ralph Garcia from Ventura, CA, was the Sailor ID’d thanks to these new innovations. Garcia graduated from Ventura High School in 1933 and went to community college before joining the U.S. Navy. At Pearl Harbor, 21 ships were sunk or damaged, including the USS West Virginia, which is where Garcia was assigned. The USS West Virginia, a 32,600-ton Colorado-class battleship, was stationed at the military installation but was struck by Japanese torpedoes that did irreversible damage. This ship, alone, accounted for 106 deaths Pearl Harbor would rack up on that day. Thanks to new DNA technology, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency was able to ID Garcia after all this time. This could open the door to verifying more Pearl Harbor deaths as time goes forward. Previous efforts have already been used to ID over 90% of the remains from the USS Oklahoma in this ongoing fight. The deaths in Pearl Harbor are a tragedy Americans continue to mourn. Brave people serving our country knew nothing of how their lives would end or change forever. But it’s because of their sacrifice that the United States was able to maintain sovereignty, win WWII, and continue to be a beacon of freedom.

Search Pearl Harbor Deaths Online

For the curious and the lovers of history, you can actually look up and find the brave troops that sacrificed everything on that fateful day online. The USS West Virginia Pearl Harbor Casualty List provides a list of Sailors at Pearl Harbor, among others, who lost their lives. No matter if they were from Southern California or Hawaii or anywhere else, the Pearl Harbor deaths are a reminder of the sacrifice and risks that those serving accept to keep us free. Hopefully, this discovery reminds us of all those who are willing to protect our freedoms as well as give Garcia’s family a bit of closure.

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Image: Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency



Claude Ralph Garcia
pearl harbor
USS West Virginia

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