Vosler -- TSgt Forrest L Vosler
Published December 10, 2014
Forrest Vosler enlisted as a private in the Army at Rochester, N.Y., Oct. 8, 1942. He took basic training at Atlantic City, N.J., the Radio Operator and Mechanics School at Scott Field Ill.; and Flexible Gunnery School at Harlingen Texas. By May 22, 1943, he had successfully completed his training and three days later was promoted to sergeant. He got another stripe in August at Pyote, Texas, while awaiting overseas shipment.
In October 1943, he went to Europe as a radio operator and aerial gunner on B-17s assigned to the 8th Air Force's 358th Bomb Squadron. While participating in his fourth mission, the bombing of Bremen, Germany, Sergeant Vosler was seriously wounded in action, being hit in the legs and thighs when a 20-mm. cannon shell exploded in his radio compartment and his B-17 was forced out of formation.
For his gallantry on that mission, he was given the Medal of Honor. Its citation, in part, best tells the story: "At about the same time a direct hit on the tail gunner wounded him and rendered his guns inoperative. Realizing the great need for firepower in protecting the vulnerable tail of the ship. Sergeant Vosler, with grim determination kept up a steady stream of deadly fire. Shortly thereafter another enemy shell exploded, wounding him 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, Sergeant Vosler finally got the set operating and sent out distress signals despite several lapses into unconsciousness. When the ship ditched, Sergeant Vosler managed to get out on the wing by himself and hold the wounded tail gunner from slipping off until the other crew members could help them into the dinghy. Sergeant 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 crew member, were outstanding."
Sergeant Vosler was promoted to technical sergeant two weeks after this mission. He was confined to Air Force hospitals in England until his return to the United States in March 1944. The Medal of Honor was presented to him by President Roosevelt at the White House. Sergeant Vosler continued to receive treatment at various hospitals until Oct. 17, 1944, when he was honorably discharged from the service at Valley Forge General Hospital at Phoenixville, Pa.
See the full citation at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website.