The remains of Navy ship fitter Claude Ralph Garcia, killed in the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, were brought home to Ventura County Wednesday.
Garcia was 25 years old and served on the USS West Virginia when Japanese bombers attacked. At the time of his death, he was the first person from Ventura County to die in World War II.
“We’re bringing him home. We’re going to bury him with his mother,” said Ric Ruffinelli, Garcia’s great nephew.
Ruffinelli was notified about a year ago that bones had been collected from Punchbowl National Cemetery in Hawaii and that he and his sister should donate their DNA. In March, his great uncle’s remains were positively identified, and arrangements were made for his homecoming on Pearl Harbor Day.
Garcia’s remains returned in a flag-draped casket accompanied by an honor guard.
KTLA’s Rick Chambers reports.