CHARLES H. OSTROM, CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Charles Ostrom '30

Date of birth: November 3, 1908

Date of death: November 24, 1943

Age: 35

Lucky Bag

From the 1930 Lucky Bag:

1930 Ostrom LB.jpg

CHARLES HOWARD OSTROM

At Large

"Whitey" "Swede" "Charlie"

FROM his Viking ancestors Whitey has inherited a natural love of the sea. His boyhood days near the ocean did not lessen that attraction, and the result is that Whitey has turned to the sea for his life's work. Severn school prepared him for his debut into the ranks of the mariners, and he came to the Naval Academy with an engaging manner that soon won him many friends.

Plebe year turned out to be a struggle for his unusually carefree nature. When he was not disturbed by the ever-present upper classmen, the Dago department was sure to take its toll of grief. But he weathered the stormy trials of that year successfully and has had easy sailing the rest of the time.

Since the days of his high school triumphs at the game, lacrosse has held a gripping interest for Whitey. On the football field, too, he felt at home, and was quarterback of the class championship team in twenty-eight.

The air service has been a deep-rooted ambition of his since his first day as a Plebe. That goal once gained, Whitey will feel that life, after all, is worth living.

Lacrosse 4, 3, 2; Class Swimming 2; Class Football 2, 1; Water Polo 2; Chairman Class Crest Committee; 2 P.O.

1930 Ostrom LB.jpg

CHARLES HOWARD OSTROM

At Large

"Whitey" "Swede" "Charlie"

FROM his Viking ancestors Whitey has inherited a natural love of the sea. His boyhood days near the ocean did not lessen that attraction, and the result is that Whitey has turned to the sea for his life's work. Severn school prepared him for his debut into the ranks of the mariners, and he came to the Naval Academy with an engaging manner that soon won him many friends.

Plebe year turned out to be a struggle for his unusually carefree nature. When he was not disturbed by the ever-present upper classmen, the Dago department was sure to take its toll of grief. But he weathered the stormy trials of that year successfully and has had easy sailing the rest of the time.

Since the days of his high school triumphs at the game, lacrosse has held a gripping interest for Whitey. On the football field, too, he felt at home, and was quarterback of the class championship team in twenty-eight.

The air service has been a deep-rooted ambition of his since his first day as a Plebe. That goal once gained, Whitey will feel that life, after all, is worth living.

Lacrosse 4, 3, 2; Class Swimming 2; Class Football 2, 1; Water Polo 2; Chairman Class Crest Committee; 2 P.O.

Loss

Charles was lost on November 24, 1943 when USS Liscome Bay (CVE 56) was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Charles was credited with seven air-to-air victories in World War II.

From USS Liscome Bay Crew list:

F4F Wilcat Ace (7 Japs). Dist. Flying Cross, 2 Air Medals. Purple Heart. Son C.H. Ostrom Jr. USNA 1958, Grandson LT Brian S. Ostrom USNA 1983, Great Grandson Sgt. Brian S. Ostrom, Jr. 2nd Recon Bn.

The above link also claims he was the embarked composite squadron's commanding officer; this is incorrect. (It also lists him as aboard from November 1, 1941, but the ship was not commissioned until August 1943.) Unclear on what unit or billet he was assigned, though he was not the ship's commanding officer, executive officer, or the chief of staff of the embarked admiral.

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander Charles H. Ostrom, United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight while commanding a Fighter Squadron in the Solomon Islands from 2 to 20 February 1943. Commander Ostrom directed attacks on shore installations at Munda Point and on 20 Japanese destroyers. On the latter occasion his squadron shot down seven enemy fighters, enabling our bombers to carry out their attacks unmolested and score two direct hits on two destroyers.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 320 (November 1943)
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander

Note

Charles is listed on the Class of 1930 panel as if he was lost in November 1944; as he was listed as missing, this was the standard official date of death (year + 1 day).

Related Articles

Henry Mullinnix '16, Irving Wiltsie '21, Lester Kern '23, Finley Hall '29, and George Williams '40 were also lost in Liscome Bay.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

October 1930
Ensign, USS New Mexico


Others at or embarked at this command:
LCDR Charles Cecil '16 (Battleship Division 4)
LTjg Gerald Dyson '27 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 4B)
January 1931
Ensign, USS New Mexico


Others at or embarked at this command:
LTjg Gerald Dyson '27 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 3B)
April 1932
Ensign, Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 7F, USS Argonne
October 1932
Ensign, Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 7F, USS Argonne
January 1933
Ensign, Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 7F, USS Argonne
April 1933
Ensign, Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 7F, USS Argonne

Others at or embarked at USS Argonne:
July 1933
Lieutenant (j.g.), Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B, USS Lexington


Others at or embarked at USS Lexington:
LCDR Ryland Tisdale '15 (USS Lexington)
LTjg James McDonough '24 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LTjg Arthur Farrell '25 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LTjg Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B)
ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32 (USS Lexington)
ENS Daniel Gothie '32 (USS Lexington)
ENS William Thorn '32 (USS Lexington)
October 1933
Lieutenant (j.g.), Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 3B, USS Lexington


Others at or embarked at USS Lexington:
LCDR Ryland Tisdale '15 (USS Lexington)
LTjg James McDonough '24 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LTjg Arthur Farrell '25 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
LTjg Henry Twohy '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 5B)
ENS Edwin Kelly '30 (Torpedo Squadron (VT) 1B)
ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32 (USS Lexington)
ENS Daniel Gothie '32 (USS Lexington)
ENS William Thorn '32 (USS Lexington)
April 1934
Lieutenant (j.g.), Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B, USS Saratoga

Others at or embarked at USS Saratoga:
LCDR William Sample '19 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Matthias Marple, Jr. '23 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
2LT Ernest Pollock '28 (Scouting Squadron 14-M)
LTjg Mathias Wyatt '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Lloyd Greenamyer '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 1B)
ENS James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
ENS George Stone '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)
ENS George Ottinger '32 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Frank Latta '32 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Paul Burton '33 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Robert Fair '33 (USS Saratoga)
July 1934
Lieutenant (j.g.), Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B, USS Saratoga


Others at or embarked at USS Saratoga:
LT Arnold Isbell '21 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Matthias Marple, Jr. '23 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Charles McDonald '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Harold Richards '27 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Leonard Southerland '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Mathias Wyatt '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Robert Patten '30 (Aircraft Squadrons)
ENS James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
ENS George Stone '31 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Eugene Lytle, Jr. '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)
ENS James Kelsey, Jr. '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)
ENS Bertram Prueher '33 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Paul Burton '33 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Robert Fair '33 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Wendell Froling '34 (USS Saratoga)
October 1934
Lieutenant (j.g.), Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B, USS Saratoga


Others at or embarked at USS Saratoga:
CDR Walter Webster '11 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Arnold Isbell '21 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT John Jones '21 (USS Saratoga)
LT Matthias Marple, Jr. '23 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LT Charles McDonald '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Harold Richards '27 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Leonard Southerland '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Mathias Wyatt '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Robert Patten '30 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Charles Palmer, Sr. '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
ENS George Stone '31 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Albert Gates, Jr. '32 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Bertram Prueher '33 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Paul Burton '33 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Robert Fair '33 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Wendell Froling '34 (USS Saratoga)
January 1935
Lieutenant (j.g.), Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B, USS Saratoga


Others at or embarked at USS Saratoga:
CDR Walter Webster '11 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Arnold Isbell '21 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT John Jones '21 (USS Saratoga)
LT Matthias Marple, Jr. '23 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LT Charles McDonald '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Harold Richards '27 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Leonard Southerland '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Mathias Wyatt '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Charles Palmer, Sr. '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Ford Wallace '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
LTjg Edward Blessman '31 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg George Stone '31 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Albert Gates, Jr. '32 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Bertram Prueher '33 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Paul Burton '33 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Robert Fair '33 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Wendell Froling '34 (USS Saratoga)
April 1935
Lieutenant (j.g.), Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B, USS Saratoga


Others at or embarked at USS Saratoga:
CDR Walter Webster '11 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT Arnold Isbell '21 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LT John Jones '21 (USS Saratoga)
LT Matthias Marple, Jr. '23 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LT Charles McDonald '24 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Harold Richards '27 (Aircraft Squadrons)
LTjg Leonard Southerland '27 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Mathias Wyatt '29 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Charles Palmer, Sr. '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 2B)
LTjg Ford Wallace '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 6B)
LTjg James Murphy '31 (Torpedo Plane Squadron (VT) 2B)
ENS Albert Gates, Jr. '32 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Bertram Prueher '33 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Paul Burton '33 (USS Saratoga)
ENS Wendell Froling '34 (USS Saratoga)
October 1935
Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 6F, Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor

January 1936
Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 6F, Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor

April 1936
Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 6F, Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor

July 1936
Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 6F, Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor

January 1937
Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 6F, Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor

Others at this command:
April 1937
Lieutenant (j.g.), Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 6F, Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor

Others at this command:
September 1937
Lieutenant (j.g.), Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 5, USS Louisville

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at USS Louisville:
ENS Richard Stephenson '35 (USS Louisville)
ENS Joseph Patterson '36 (USS Louisville)
ENS John Hunter '36 (USS Louisville)
ENS Herold Harveson '37 (USS Louisville)
January 1938
Lieutenant (j.g.), Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 5, USS Louisville

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at USS Louisville:
ENS Joseph Patterson '36 (USS Louisville)
ENS John Hunter '36 (USS Louisville)
ENS Herold Harveson '37 (USS Louisville)
July 1938
Lieutenant, Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 5, USS Louisville

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at USS Louisville:
ENS John Hunter '36 (USS Louisville)
ENS Herold Harveson '37 (USS Louisville)
January 1939
Lieutenant, Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 5, USS Louisville

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at USS Louisville:
ENS John Hunter '36 (USS Louisville)
ENS Herold Harveson '37 (USS Louisville)
October 1939
Lieutenant, Scouting Squadron (VS) 71, USS Wasp

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at USS Wasp:
LCDR Rogers Elliott '22 (USS Wasp)
LTjg James Fitzpatrick, Jr. '35 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 7)
LTjg Joseph Evans '36 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 72)
November 1940
Lieutenant, Naval Air Station Miami, Florida

April 1941
Lieutenant, Naval Air Station Miami, Florida


Class of 1930

Charles is one of 42 members of the Class of 1930 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of alumni in Memorial Hall.