The air war over Europe was a bloody affair for Allied pilots flying bombing missions over occupied Europe and Germany. Large bomber formations were savaged by flak and/or German fighters. Losses were so heavy that any crew that survived 25 missions were sent home. Few did.

Things would soon change, however, as the P-51 Mustang fighter, a superior aircraft design married with the superior British Rolls Royce Merlin engine became the most dominant aircraft in the sky. And the P-51s could fly all the way to Germany with the bombers and return with them. Tactics would change also as American fighters would fly “sweeps” ahead of the bombers hitting Luftwaffe fields to catch the fighters on the ground giving the Mustangs near-complete control of the skies by 1944. 

But in late-1943, things were still looking bleak for the bomber crews. On December 20, 1943, the 358th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Bomb Group out of Molesworth, England flew a combat bombing mission to Bremen. And during that mission, a year before the pivotal Battle of the Bulge, one American airman, Tech Sgt (SFC) Forrest L. Vosler would be awarded the Medal of Honor. 

Vosler was born on July 29, 1923, and at the time of the mission was just 20 years old. He was born near Lake Ontario and grew up in Rochester, NY where he’d been a Boy Scout, Eagle Scout, and Assistant Scoutmaster.