SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — An unknown World War II sailor was recently identified through DNA science. He was put to rest at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego on Wednesday, nearly 80 years after his death.
For the first time, the Garcia's were able to take a family photo with Jesus Francisco Garcia, a man who they thought was gone forever.
That is until San Diego native Sonny Garcia got a phone call three years ago.
"She identified herself as a navy forensic genealogist," Garcia said.
At first, Garcia thought it was a scam. Why would someone suddenly inquire about his uncle Jesus, who died on the USS Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor attacks? But it was not a scam. That genealogist said they found him.
"There were three sailors on board the USS Oklahoma of Eurasian descent, and two of them were positively identified, so the third one just had to be our uncle," Garcia said.
Mess Attendant Second Class Jesus Francisco Garcia of Guam finally got the farewell he deserved, full military honors at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in front of the family he never got to meet.
"The military says 'No man left behind,' and it's amazing that they still hold that truth how many years later. We're still able to honor these fallen soldiers," great-niece Sharla Olivera said.
The youngest Garcias now wear a special dog tag, honoring their great uncle, a man who sacrificed his life for their freedoms.
"They put their lives on the line so that we have the liberties that we have today," Garcia said.
Now, Jesus Francisco Garcia is at his final resting place, a special spot Garcia said is fit for a true American hero.
"That's Coronado. Over there is 32nd Street," Garcia said. "This is as good as it gets."
The Garcia family said they are thankful for the US Navy for not giving up their search and hope more sailors will be identified through advancements in DNA.