Unknown Sailor

OS3c Vicente De Castro

Vicente De Castro was born Jan. 8, 1906, in Batangas province in the Philippines.

It’s unclear exactly when he enlisted in the Navy, but his name appears on the passenger list of a transport that arrived in San Francisco on Jan. 19, 1929. He was identified as a mess attendant third class — an entry-level Navy job.

Mr. De Castro was an officer’s steward third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

As a native of the Philippines, Mr. De Castro was discriminated against by the Navy. Sailors from the Philippines or Guam or who were Black could enlist in only one job before the start of World War II: mess attendant. Messmen cooked, cleaned and performed other services. They could advance to become stewards or cooks for officers, but that was their limit.

Sources: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Navy muster rolls; U.S. Grant passenger list. Note that Mr. De Castro’s service number is inconsistent on ship muster rolls, with a single digit changing here and there, probably a result of typing errors. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.
NOTE: If you are a family member related to this crew member of the U.S.S. Arizona, or have additional information, pictures or documents to share about his life or service to our county please contact us through our FAMILY MEMBER SUBMISSION FORM