Spokane World War II fighter pilot remembered as hero
Author: Mark Hanrahan
Published: 4:13 PM PST December 20, 2017
Updated: 12:21 PM PST January 5, 2018

A World War II veteran, a prisoner of war and a hero.

That is how Karl Garlock will be remembered.

Lieutenant Colonel Garlock called Spokane home for 50 years. He passed away in early December. He died a hero.

He lived as a hero, too. He enlisted in the Army-Air Corps after high school. It was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that prompted him to volunteer for flight school.

Before long, he was flying a P-38 Lightning. He was involved in 55 missions in World War II. He escorted bombers, destroyed German fighters and disrupted train supplies.

In May of 1944, he was shot down in Germany. While he escaped the crash-landing, he did not escape the Germans. He was captured as a prisoner of war.

His family received a telegram about his capture. It reads, "report just received through the international red cross states that your son captain Karl H. Garlock is a prisoner of war of the German government."

He and other prisoners were beaten, starved and endured bitter cold weather for nine months before they were freed by General Patton's Army.

"We have a lot to learn from their sacrifices and their war," said his grandson Christopher Garlock. He said his grandfather did not talk much about his time as a prisoner of war, but no doubt passed along important lessons learned from his time at war.

Lt. Colonel Garlock eventually returned to the U.S. While he flew several aircrafts, the P-38 was his favorite.

"He was very honored to be able to fly the most powerful fighters in the war at that time as well. P-38. He loved that airplane," said his son, Jeff Garlock. "He always felt that nothing was impossible too. He always felt that you could achieve any dream you wanted."

After serving for 30 years, Lt. Colonel Garlock retired from Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

In August 2015, Representative Cathy McMorrris Rogers presented Garlock with the Prisoner of War Medal. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three devices for heroism in aerial combat, two Purple Hearts, the American Defense Medal and the World War II POW Medal.

He was honored at the Veteran's Cemetery in Medical Lake when he passed away in early December of 2017. F-15 fighters performed a Missing Man Formation during his memorial.

"He would always say that he wasn't a hero, but that was one thing he was very wrong about," said Christopher Garlock.

"He was a man of dignity, he was someone that... That we all respected and we all looked up to. And he was just... They just don't make them like that anymore," said his daughter, Gina Hardy.

Lt. Colonel Garlock leaves behind three sons, one daughter, three granddaughters, one grandson and one great grandson. He also leaves behind his wife of 71 years.