CHULA VISTA, CA — A community in mourning — flags flew half staff at Chula Vista Civic Center on Monday, the day after it was announced that Chula Vista resident and Navy man Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan was among the seven dead in this past weekend’s naval collision.
Inside the family’s home, it’s been about remembering him.
“I’d like to say that I miss you and I wish I could hold you one last time,” said brother Vince.
Sibayan was born in the Philippines. He lived in Pasay City until he was four, and grew up in Japan, where his father was stationed at before the family moved to Southern California, where he graduated from Chapparal High School in Temecula.
The family eventually settled in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista, as he followed his fathers military career.
Being in his fourth year of service, the 2nd class fire controlman was expected to return to San Diego next month, after being in Japan the past three years.
But his life was cut short this past weekend when a Philippine-flagged cargo ship collided with the USS Fitzgerald. The cause of the collision is now being investigated.
Sibayan’s Facebook wall has been flooded with messages of support and fond memories, remembering his sense of humor and his kind heart.
“I feel grateful that everyone cares so much about him and our family, and all the support we get is just phenomenal,” said Vince. “I want people to remember him as the hero he was. He was my role model, my little brother’s role model. He was the father figure of our family, as my father was deployed for 21 years straight, and I just want people to know how amazing he was.”
For now, 18-year-old Vincent will continue his family’s mission — but he will fulfill one of his brothers requests, by going to school first.
While some people have offered to start online crowd funding memorials, the family has requested for people to not begin any campaigns on his behalf.
The bodies of the fallen sailors are still in Japan. Sibayan’s remains are expected to be returned home sometime next week, where he will receive a heroes’ welcome.