WILLIAM R. OSTERTAG, 2LT, USMCR

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Ostertag '24

Date of birth: April 14, 1901

Date of death: February 20, 1930

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1924 Lucky Bag:

Biography

From the Intelligencer Journal on February 21, 1930

William was lost on February 20, 1930 when the plane he was aboard crashed near Quantico, Virginia. He "was commissioned into the Marine Corps reserves and had been on active duty at Quantico for a year."

He was originally commissioned into the Navy; his first duty station following graduation was as an Ensign aboard USS Pennsylvania (BB 38) (per Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps of 1925). He joined the Marine Corps Reserve sometime in the first half of 1929 as a 2nd Lieutenant.

From researcher Kathy Franz:

William was known to his "chums" as "Bud." In October 1921 while on leave, Bud shot an eagle on the 4th hole at Long's Park golf course. He hit over a hazard composed of a group of trees and bushes - right into the hole. He only had played 12 times before and shot an 80 for the whole round. The newspaper said he was only the 4th person in the history of American golf to attain this feat. He attributed this skill "to the practice obtained while manipulating the decks and hatches through several heavy swells."

William's grandparents were from Baden, Germany, and they owned a furniture store in Columbia, Pennsylvania. His grandfather was Andrew, his grandmother was Margaret, his father was John, and his mother was Mary. In 1910 William's brother Charles was 27 and a clerk in an iron company, and his brother Harry, age 26, worked in the furniture store. William's older sisters were Celie and Mary. William along with William Charles Purple ('24) were appointed to the Naval Academy by Representative Griest. William's father John was active in civic affairs. He was instrumental in getting a rent-free location for the American Legion Paul Revere Leber Post No. 372. As a member of the Atlantic Deeper Waterways Association, he helped with the Susquehanna River project to make the stream navigable and producing power, and he was a pioneer advocate of the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge that was completed in 1930.

He is buried in Pennsylvania.

Related Articles

Joseph Wolfe '26 was also lost in this crash.

Memorial Hall Error

William is not in Memorial Hall, though he should be. This omission was discovered while researching the loss of the other officer aboard the aircraft.

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.

July 1924

Ensign, USS Pennsylvania


Others at this command:

September 1924

Ensign, USS Pennsylvania


Others at this command:

November 1924

Ensign, USS Pennsylvania


Others at this command:

January 1925

Ensign, USS Pennsylvania


Others at this command:

March 1925

Ensign, USS Pennsylvania


Others at this command:

May 1925

Ensign, USS Hopkins

July 1925

Ensign, USS Hopkins

October 1925

Ensign, Resigned 20 August 1925

July 1929

2nd Lieutenant, Aircraft Squadrons, East Coast Expeditionary Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

October 1929

2nd Lieutenant, Aircraft Squadrons, East Coast Expeditionary Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia


Others at this command:

January 1930

2nd Lieutenant, Aircraft Squadrons, East Coast Expeditionary Force, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia


Others at this command:


Class of 1924

William is one of 42 members of the Class of 1924 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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