VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. (NNS) – 81 years after being killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor, the remains of Shipfitter (SF) 2nd Class Claude Ralph Garcia, assigned to the Colorado-class battleship USS West Virginia (BB-48) returned to Ventura County Dec. 6, 2022.

SF2 was aboard the USS West Virginia on Dec. 7, 1941, moored on Battleship Row, Pearl Harbor, when Japanese bombers conducted a surprise attack, killing one-hundred and six crewmates.

Garcia was a member of the 1933 graduating class of Ventura High School who attended community college prior to joining the Navy. A Feb. 1943 article in the Ventura County Star-Free Press carried a photo of Garcia and described him as the first casualty from Ventura in the war.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the Department of the Navy for all the efforts that they have gone through,” said Ric Ruffinelli, Garcia’s great-nephew. “I mean, 81 years later, my goodness’ sake. I just I take my hat off to them. I’m in awe of the efforts they put forth.”