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Forrest Lee Vosler

Military

Shot down 20 December 1943 in B-17 42-29664 'Jersey Bounce Jr. ' Plane ditched in Channel. Returned to base. He was seriously wounded on the mission and received the Medal fo Honor for his actions on the mission.

Left school 1941 and worked for a year as drill press operator in Livonia, NY. Enlisted USAAF 08 Oct 1942. Trained as radio operator and gunner at Scott Fld, IL. Sent to UK as replacement crew member in summer 1943. Assigned 303rd BG and flew several missions. Action for which Medal Of Honor award was made occurred 20 Dec 43 while Sergeant. Vosler was acting as radio operator on B-17F, 42-29664, VK:C, JERSEY BOUNCE JR. Temporarily blinded and wounded in face and legs, Vosler was returned to USA early in 1944. Received treatment at Valley Forge Hospital, PA, where he recovered his sight in July 44. Honorably discharged from the USAAF 17 Oct 44.

His Medal of Honor 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."
Vossler was the second enlisted airman to be decorated with the Medal of Honor in WWII.
He died on February 17, 1992 at 68 years of age.

MOH/ AM/ PH

Service

Units served with

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 358th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-29664 Jersey Bounce Jr.

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 30/1/43; Salina 12/2/43; Morrison 28/2/43; Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-C] Molesworth 21/3/43; Missing in Action Bremen 20/12/43 with John Henderson, Co-pilot: Capt Merle Hungerford, Navigator: Warren Wiggins, Bombardier: Woodrow Monkres,...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Lyndonville, New York 25 July 1923
Buried Arlington National Cemetery 1992
Died Titusville, Florida, USA 17 February 1992

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
31 October 2019 18:46:55 RayWells Changes to biography
Sources

Citation details via Dillon Vargason on WWII Air War over Europe Facebook page

Date Contributor Update
10 October 2019 22:16:00 jmoore43 Changes to events
Sources

Added death details per Find-a-grave MEMORIAL ID 12676.

Date Contributor Update
10 October 2019 22:12:55 jmoore43 Changes to events
Sources

Added burial details per Find-a-grave MEMORIAL ID 12676.

Date Contributor Update
10 October 2019 22:11:19 jmoore43 Changes to awards
Sources

Added silver star to awards per Find-a-grave MEMORIAL ID 12676.

Date Contributor Update
10 October 2019 21:56:17 jmoore43 Changes to role and awards
Sources

Added awards & updated role per info on Wikipedia.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:09:42 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / daughter, Roll of Honor, http://303rdbg.com/rost-tuv.html#T">http://303rdbg.com/rost-tuv.html#T> , Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol.  I, p. 425

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