Created: 05/23/2014 7:05 PM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Going into the Memorial Day weekend, KOB Eyewitness News 4 thought it was fitting that we accept our invitation to a World War II veteran's funeral service Friday morning.
Marcel Garcia Sr. passed away on May 18. He was part of some famous and important battles in the Pacific.
Friday, his 88 years were celebrated, and for his brave service he was honored.
Marcel Garcia enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17. He wasn't exactly truthful with his recruiters. He told them he was 18.
"(He was) very young. He just had the intentions to fight for his country, and that's exactly where God put him: On the USS Washington Battleship," Marcel Garcia, Jr. said.
The USS Washington battleship was constantly placed on the tip of the spear; waging war in some of the Pacific's most famous and ferocious battles against the Japanese. Places like Guadacanal, Iwo Jima, and the liberation of the Phillipines.
The battleship Washington, in a seven minute barrage, sank one of Japan's most famous battleships: the Kirishima.
"He was loading up the 15 inch shells, 15 or 16 inch shells. A big cannon bomb that was being shot out of that battleship. Well, he was the one loading those babies up," Marcel Garcia, Jr. said.
Garcia was a gunner who faced down kamikaze attacks. And though so many were lost, the battleship Washington made it home.
Garcia came home to New Mexico and had a full life of 88 years. He helped build St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church - the very church that he was laid to rest in today in southwest Albuquerque.