Garry Oskamp passed away July 24, 2007. He was born May 16, 1915, in Hanford to Dutch immigrant parents. He was the second eldest of five children, including two brothers and two sisters.
Soon after his birth, the family returned to Holland. They immigrated to the United States a second time when Garry was 2-years-old. Due to his U.S. birth, the Ellis Island immigration papers correctly listed him as a U.S. citizen.
The family headed back to California but ran out of money in New Jersey, where they stayed and where Garry grew up. He attended public schools and graduated from high school in New Jersey in 1931.
Growing up as a young man, Garry held a number of jobs including delivering the Patterson Morning Paper in New Jersey, ranching in California and driving a truck. But his lifelong career as a pilot began in 1930 when he met Eddie Gorski, Amelia Earhart’s chief mechanic, who taught him to fly an airplane. He flew as a private pilot until 1942 when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps (later the U.S. Air Force) where he served on active duty until his retirement in 1964, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Col. Oskamp saw active duty in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and was highly decorated. He is the holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Army Air Service medals, and many more awards. Garry was also personally honored with two awards from Chiang Kai-Shek, the then-president of Taiwan (Republic of China), one for Military Merit and another of an Ironman statue holding a jet airplane.
Garry married the former Betty Autrice Harlen on Nov. 20, 1942. Betty passed away in 1988. Col. Oskamp’s last military duty station was Vietnam. Upon his retirement in 1964, the family became permanent residents of Victorville. Garry was a Victorville resident for more than 49 years and was an active member of the Victor Valley Church of Christ.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the Victor Valley Church of Christ. A graveside service will follow at 2 p.m. at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside.
Kern Memorial Chapel in Victorville is handling arrangements.