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First Name: Forrest

Last Name: Vosler

Birthplace: Lyndonville, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: U.S. Army Air Forces (1941 - 1947)

Home of Record: Rochester, NY
Middle Name: Lee

Date of Birth: 29 July 1923

Date of Death: 17 February 1992

Rank: Technical Sergeant

Years Served: 1942 - 1944
Forrest Lee Vosler

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Forrest Lee Vosler

Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Technical Sergeant Forrest L. Vosler (29 July 1923 - 17 February 1992) was a U.S. Army Air Forces airman who was the second enlisted airman to receive the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during World War II.

Forrest L. Vosler was born on 29 July 1923 in Lyndonville, NY. He joined the Army Air Forces at Rochester, NY. Sergeant Vosler was assigned to the 358th Bomb Squadron, 303rd Bomb Group, based at RAF Molesworth, England. At about 8:30 a.m. on 20 December 1943, Sergeant Vosler left on his fourth combat mission. His plane, on its 28th combat flight, was a B-17F Flying Fortress named the "Jersey Bounce Jr." S/N 42-29664. The plane and crew reached the target area of Bremen, Germany, just before noon. The bombers encountered concentrated, accurate and intense flak over Axis territory. In addition to the anti-aircraft fire, about 125 German fighters repeatedly attacked the formation. Radio operator Technical Sergeant Forrest Vosler was hit twice by 20 mm shrapnel after taking the place of one of the gunners. Despite his injuries, he managed to tend to the wounded tail gunner, repair the damaged radio equipment and send off distress signals before the aircraft ditched into the sea. Sergeant Vosler was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the mission.

This was a costly mission for the 8th Air Force, a total of 27 bombers were lost including the Jersey Bounce Jr. after it ditched in the North Sea.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Corps. 358th Bomber Squadron, 303rd Bomber Group.

Place and date: Over Bremen, Germany, 20 December 1943.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry in action against the enemy above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a radio operator-air gunner on a heavy bombardment aircraft in a mission over Bremen, Germany, on 20 December 1943. After bombing the target, the aircraft in which T/Sgt. Vosler was serving was severely damaged by antiaircraft fire, forced out of formation, and immediately subjected to repeated vicious attacks by enemy fighters. Early in the engagement a 20-mm. cannon shell exploded in the radio compartment, painfully wounding T/Sgt. Vosler in the legs and thighs. At about the same time a direct hit on the tail of the ship seriously wounded the tail gunner and rendered the tail guns inoperative. Realizing the great need for firepower in protecting the vulnerable tail of the ship, T/Sgt. Vosler, with grim determination, kept up a steady stream of deadly fire. Shortly thereafter another 20-mm. enemy shell exploded, wounding T/Sgt. Vosler in the chest and about the face. Pieces of metal lodged in both eyes, impairing his vision to such an extent that he could only distinguish blurred shapes. Displaying remarkable tenacity and courage, he kept firing his guns and declined to take first-aid treatment. The radio equipment had been rendered inoperative during the battle, and when the pilot announced that he would have to ditch, although unable to see and working entirely by touch, T/Sgt. Vosler finally got the set operating and sent out distress signals despite several lapses into unconsciousness. When the ship ditched, T/Sgt. Vosler managed to get out on the wing by himself and hold the wounded tail gunner from slipping off until the other crewmembers could help them into the dinghy. T/Sgt. Vosler's actions on this occasion were an inspiration to all serving with him. The extraordinary courage, coolness, and skill he displayed in the face of great odds, when handicapped by injuries that would have incapacitated the average crewmember, were outstanding.

Vosler's Medal of Honor was presented to him on 6 September 1944 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Post-Military Life

Following his discharge in October 1944 and a lengthy recovery period, he attended college and earned a Bachelor's degree. He then spent a 30-year career with the Veteran's Administration in Syracuse, NY, counseling other veterans and performing community service. 

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Silver Star Medal
Purple Heart
Air Medal

Death and Burial

Technical Sergeant Forrest L. Vosler died on 17 February 1992. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 60, Grave 4924.

Honoree ID: 1691   Created by: MHOH




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