In reverence to a South Texas hero on Memorial Day

Robin Bradshaw
Alice Echo News Journal

For Memorial Day: Honoring a Jim Wells County native in reverence for his service.

Joe Harvey Garcia a Jim Wells County native was born in Alice in 1926. His family later moved to Corpus Christi, where he attended high school and joined the US Navy in January 1944. 

On June 4, 1945, Garcia was a crew member on the Bow Gunner of the PBM-5 Mariner BU-59062 during a search and rescue mission, when they received fire from a Japanese warship. Two men were critically wounded and required medical help during the attack.  

Garcia's crew made an emergency landing at a beach near Tanahmeja village on Celebes, Indonesia. Once ashore, the crew was faced with the Japanese in a continual battle, with enemy reinforcements increasing for hours. Several of the crew were shot, killed or injured as the survivors and injured made a plans to scatter and try to meet up later on the north end of the island. Five of the crew were captured by the Japanese and became 'Prisoners of War.' Some of the crew later died of injuries or were executed, according to Honorstates.org. 

Garcia was among the men held as a POW, then executed two months later by beheading on August 4, 1945. Garcia's death occured just ten days before the Japanese would unconditionally surrender.

His remains were located after the war and he was laid to rest at Rose Hill Memorial Park in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Joe Harvey Garcia was born June 23, 1926, in Alice, Texas, and died a 'Prisoner of War' on August 4, 1945, in Celebes Island, Indonesia.

 Joe Harvey Garcia - Alice, Texas. 

  • Born: June 23, 1926
  • Death: August 4, 1945
  • War: World War II
  • ID: 5772141
  • Rank: Petty Officer Third Class
  • Specialty: Aviation Ordnanceman Third Class
  • Branch: US Navy
  • Group: VPB-20, USS Pokomoke (AV-9)
  • POW Status: Reported Dead while Captured, Prisoner of War
  • MIA Status: Declared Dead while Missing
  • Cause of Death: Hostile, Killed in Action
  • Location: Celebes Island, Indonesia, Pacific Ocean

Joe Harvey Garcia was awarded:

  • Silver Star
  • Prisoner of War Medal
  •  Air Medal
  •  Purple Heart

Information:

To view additional MIA/POW heroes from the Jim Wells County area visit Honorstates.org

Information gathered by Honorstates.org and South Texas History. 

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