MATT2c Jose Sanchez Quinata

Unknown Sailor

MATT2c Jose Sanchez Quinata

José Sanchez Quinata was born April 29, 1922 at Umatac, a village of fewer than 1,000 people on the southwest coast of Guam. His mother, Margarita Sanchez Quinata, was a homemaker, and his father, Vicente Aguon Quinata, a farmer. 

The son had completed 7th grade and was in school when the spring 1940 Census was conducted. He enlisted in the Navy that Dec. 2.

Mr. Sanchez Quinata was a mess attendant second class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. His body was one of the few recovered from the battleship and in 1948 he was returned home and buried at the local cemetery. His parents are also buried there.

A granite memorial with the names of the 12 Chamorro men killed at Pearl Harbor was dedicated in December 2003 at the War in the Pacific National Historical Park in Guam.

As Chamorro, mess attendant was the only initial position available to them in the segregated Navy since the Wilson Administration. Messmen cooked, cleaned, and performed other services. They could advance to become a petty officer first class as an officer’s steward or officer’s cook, but that was their limit.

A few hundred men from Guam enlisted before World War II because an immobilized oil tanker, the U.S.S. Robert L. Barnes, was tied up at Apra Harbor in Guam and served as a training school for mess attendants.

Hours after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, it invaded Guam. The island was not recaptured by the United States until the summer of 1944. The Japanese occupation was brutal, with more than a thousand residents dying in concentration camps and in forced labor. Thousands of others were subject to atrocities.

At least one of Mr. Sanchez Quinata’s brothers was also in the military. Abraham was an Army sergeant first class, serving in Korea and Vietnam. He was awarded the Bronze Star in 1971.


Sources: Catholic News Service; Pacific Daily News of Agana Heights, Guam; grave markers; Census; Navy muster roll; Naval History and Heritage Command. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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