WT1c William Ratkovich

Unknown Sailor

WT1c William Ratkovich

William Ratkovich was born Sept. 24, 1909 in Colorado. His mother, Anna Vladic Ratkovich, was a homemaker and his father, Maximilian Ratkovich Sr., a coal miner. The parents were Croatian immigrants and had eight children.

William was 16 when he went to work for Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. at its Minnequa Works in Pueblo in May 1926. It was one of the largest steel and iron plants in the country. He left and returned several times and eventually quit for good in March 1930.

On an application & employment record for the company he listed his birthplace as Rockmill, Colorado, but where that might have been is uncertain. Rockvale is near what in 1920 was identified as Chandler about 30 miles west of Pueblo and is listed in multiple family records as a residence.

The mother died in Pueblo on Dec. 7, 1925 and the father in November 1928.

Navy muster rolls say that William enlisted on Feb. 4, 1936, though it’s possible that was the date of a re-enlistment. Mr. Ratkovich was a watertender and petty officer first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. His body was recovered and is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at the Punchbowl in Honolulu.

At least one of his brothers, Mark, served in the Navy from November 1933 through September 1939.


Sources: grave markers; Navy muster rolls; Census; Colorado Fuel and Iron Co. employment card. 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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