What’s in a name: Vosler Academic Development Center

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. David Bui
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Vosler Academic Development Center


Forrest L. Vosler, Technical Sergeant, USAF, 1923-1992


Tech. Sgt. Forrest L. Vosler was born July 29, 1923 in Lyndonville, New York. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on Oct. 8, 1942 and attended basic training in Atlantic City, New Jersey. After graduating from basic training, he attended the radio operator and mechanics school at Scott Field, Illinois for technical training from Nov. 4, 1942 to March 29, 1943. Following the completion of his training, Vosler also attended the Army Air Forces Flexible Gunnery School in Harlingen, Texas from March 29 to graduation on May 22, 1943.

Vosler was first placed with 18th Replacement Wing at Salt Lake City, Utah from May 22, 1943 to June 2, 1943 as a temporary duty assignment. Vosler was then transferred to the Army Air Base located in Pyote, Texas until he shipped off to fight in the European Theater during World War II.

On Oct. 7, 1943, Vosler departed to Europe in support of the World War II. He was assigned to the 358th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force, from Oct. 18, 1943 to Dec. 20, 1943 as a radio operator-air gunner.

The last mission Vosler participated in was on Dec. 20, 1943 in a heavy bomber aircraft flying over Bremen, Germany. After successfully destroying its target, the plane Vosler was in took heavy antiaircraft fire and was forced out of its position in formation. Multiple enemy fighters immediately appeared afterwards and began firing at the aircraft. During the assault one of the fighters shot a 20mm cannon shell in the bomber’s radio compartment. The shell exploded and caused Vosler to sustain severe injuries in his thighs and legs.

Afterwards, the bomber’s tail gunner was heavily injured, causing the back of the aircraft to be completely unprotected from enemy fire. Despite having already sustained heavy injuries, Vosler still proceeded to assume the role of tail gunner in order to protect the lives on board. He was able to continuously provide volleys of deadly fire to keep enemy aircraft away from his own. Vosler sustained wounds in his chest and face when a second 20mm shell in the bomber exploded after being hit by enemy fire. There were also pieces of metal stuck in both of Vosler’s eyes, causing him to only be able to see mostly blurry images. Even so, Vosler still refused to succumb to his wounds and continued laying down fire.

The aircraft’s radio equipment eventually stopped operating, causing the pilot to go into a panic and prepared to bail. Despite these poor circumstances, Vosler proceeded to get the radio equipment working again so he could send out distress signals. Once the pilot deserted, Vosler got on the wing by himself while other crew members helped to get the original tail gunner into the aircraft’s dinghy.

For his actions in the war, Vosler earned the Air Medal, Purple Heart, World War II Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, European African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star and the Aerial Gunner Aviation Badge. Furthermore, for displaying such amazing acts of courage and heroism in the face of extreme danger in his final mission, Vosler was awarded the Medal of Honor.

After his military service concluded, Vosler earned a college degree in 1946 and worked at a radio station. He eventually became a charter member of the Air Force Association’s board of directors. Vosler later passed away on Feb. 17, 1992 as a result of a heart attack. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery to this day.

Today, the Vosler Academic Development Center is used as a facility for revising Career Development Courses and improving training curriculum. The facility was opened on Oct. 27, 1995 and is actively used today.