Col (R) John C. Woolshlager ‘68

Colonel John C. Woolshlager was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry at Syracuse University in May 1968. After successfully completing the Airborne, Ranger, and Infantry Officer Basic Courses, he deployed to the Republic of Vietnam serving with the 173d Airborne Brigade. Following his return from Vietnam, he attended the Infantry Officers’ Advanced Course and served as an instructor with the Ranger Department, US Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, GA. In 1973, Colonel Woolshlager was assigned to 3d Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Devens, MA, as Commander, Special Forces Operational Detachment A311. While assigned to 10th Special Forces Group, he subsequently served as the Group Adjutant; Commander, Service Company; and Commander. A Company, 3d Battalion. Colonel Woolshlager’s units always attained the highest state of achievement and combat readiness during four Group Operational Readiness Tests, three Annual General Inspections and three multi-national REFORGER exercises in several NATO countries.

In 1979, then-Major Woolshlager, served as the Operations Officer and Management Information Systems Officer for the Syracuse District Recruiting Command. His outstanding efforts greatly increased Army enlistments throughout the entire Recruiting Command. In the 1980’s Colonel Woolshlager served on the staff of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, Fort Bragg, NC, and joined 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). From 1985 to 1987, he commanded 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and moved the Battalion from Fort Bragg to Fort Campbell, KY. In the 1990’s, Colonel Woolshlager served as the Commander, US Military Group in Argentina, resulting in improved military and political relations with this important and strategic Latin American ally. Colonel Woolshlager retired after twenty-six years of outstanding active-duty service on 6 June 1994. After leaving active duty, Colonel Woolshlager remained actively engaged with the Special Operations community. During Operation Enduring Freedom, Colonel (R) Woolshlager continued to serve the nation with three deployments to Afghanistan and one to Djibouti supporting special operations.

Colonel Woolshlager was a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and the Army War College as well as numerous service schools. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Air Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal “V”, the Army Commendation Medal (With 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Achievement Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), numerous service and campaign ribbons, the Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Wings, the SCUBA Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab.

Colonel Woolshlager died of cancer in June 2007. He was buried on 16 August 2007 with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, with several Syracuse University Army ROTC alumni in attendance. “This photograph of Colonel Woolshlager was taken with his wife, Jacqueline, on 13 November 1993, at the Marine Corps Birthday Ball at the Ambassador’s Residence, Buenos Aires, while Colonel Woolshlager was serving as the Commander. U.S. Military Group, Argentina, and is a favorite family photograph of him.”