Brigadier General Charles D. Y. Ostrom, Jr. was born in California in 1918. He holds engineering degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He entered the Army in 1941, and from the time of Pearl Harbor until late 1943, while still a second lieutenant, was responsible for providing ammunition to all Army and Air Corps units on the West Coast and in Alaska.
He later played an important role in the loading and staging of ammunition for the Kiska operation in the Aleutian Islands. His expertise in ammunition operations was so respected that as a lieutenant he was asked to critique the first draft of the field manual dealing with ammunition operations in the field.
In the European Campaign, he was Ammunition Officer for the Ninth Army. He organized and supervised ammunition operations during General McArthur's Inchon invasion in the Korean Conflict and was later Eighth Army Ammunition Officer in Korea. He subsequently served as Executive Officer at Picatinny Arsenal; as Chief of the Army Research Office in Europe; and as Director of the Ballistic Research, Human Engineering, and Coating and Chemical Laboratories at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Following a tour as U.S. Army Director of Research, he served as Commandant of the Army Ordnance Center and School from 1968 until 1972. Here he was concerned with updating the courses of instruction for officers, providing well-trained Ordnance personnel for service in Vietnam and elsewhere, and creating the Ordnance Hall of Fame.
He also instituted a noncommissioned officer course using available resources, though there was no Army-wide course system for noncommissioned officers at the time.
Following retirement in 1972, he continued his dedication to Ordnance by writing and publishing articles on a variety of Ordnance subjects.