Syracuse University Posthumously Awards Degree to WWII Veteran

Associate of Arts Degree is presented to Technical Sergeant Forrest L. Vosler

IMG_0698Chancellor Kent Syverud; Dr. Karin Ruhlandt, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Mike Haynie, Vice Chancellor for Veteran and Military Affairs recognized the accomplishments of Forrest L. Vosler by posthumously awarding him an Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts at a special Degree Conferral Ceremony held today on campus.  Forrest’s son, Steve Vosler (and his wife, Karen Vosler) represented the family and accepted the degree on behalf of his father.

During WWII, Technical Sergeant Forrest L. Vosler (U.S. Army Air Force radio operator) sustained serious injuries to his eyes, legs, and arms when the plane he was in was shot down and crashed in the North Sea.  For his heroic actions, he received the Medal of Honor from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Vosler was unable to complete his baccalaureate degree due to his combat injuries. He had, however, completed all of the requirements for the Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts.  Today, Syracuse University posthumously awarded Forrest L. Vosler an Associate’s Degree of Arts, thus making him a Syracuse University alumnus, Class of 2015.

 

More About Forrest L. Vosler:

VoslerTechnical Sergeant Forrest Lee Vosler was born on July 29, 1923, in Lyndonville, New York. After graduating from Livonia High School, he enlisted in the Army Air Force where he became a radio operator. Vosler was assigned to the 358th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force, in England. He was a crewmember of a B-17 Flying Fortress called the “Jersey Bounce, Jr.”

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt awarded the Medal of Honor to Technical Sergeant Vosler in the Oval Office on August 31, 1944, for his actions over Bremen, Germany. Vosler was hit twice by 20 mm shrapnel after taking the place of one of the plane’s gunners. Despite many injuries to his legs, arms and eyes, he managed to tend to the wounded tail gunner, repair the damaged radio equipment, and send a distress signal before the aircraft crashed into the North Sea.

Vosler was discharged from the Army Air Force following numerous surgeries and extended stays in nine hospitals.  He matriculated at Syracuse University in the Spring of 1945.  While at Syracuse, he met and married his wife, Virginia Slack—a Kappa Delta and a Liberal Arts graduate of the Class of 1945. They raised four children in Central New York: two sons—Stephen and Jeffrey, and two daughters—Sondra Fields-England and Susan Snow Bass, Class of 1990.

JerseyBounceJr(sepia)Despite being named the Army Air Force’s “Greatest Hero” of World War II, Vosler’s combat injuries to his eyes made it difficult for him to study. He had trouble reading because he could only see shapes and shades, and required additional surgeries. He persisted for 17 years, dropping in and out of school, trying to earn the Syracuse University degree he so dearly wanted, but his injuries prevented him from completing a Syracuse University degree.  Vosler passed away on February 17, 1992 with an “unseen” dream not fulfilled.

Technical Sergeant Forrest Vosler’s unseen dream became a reality 70 years later!   On November 13, 2015, Syracuse University awarded Forest L. Vosler an Associate’s Degree of Arts, thus making him a Syracuse University alumnus, Class of 2015!

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