Master Sergeant Edward F. Rossley
Award: Honoring Our Veterans
Edward F. Rossley wore multiple uniforms and proudly served our nation in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. His decorated military career is matched only by his continued devotion to his fellow service members and his commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of his community.
Mr. Rossley enlisted in the United States Navy in 1943, at the age of fifteen. He was assigned to the USS Burke, a destroyer escort for the Atlantic Fleet. Aboard the Burke, Seaman First Class Rossley engaged in sea combat operations during the battles for Guadalcanal and Tarawa.
In April 1945, at the age of just 17, Mr. Rossley found himself manning one of five specially mounted port-side .50 caliber machine guns during the invasion of Okinawa. As the Burke came under attack from a kamikaze, Mr. Rossley and his shipmates were able to send the attacking plane into the ocean. He was rendered unconscious, and later woke up aboard a hospital ship where he spent the next month recuperating from severe facial injuries and removal of shrapnel from his leg. For his heroics, Mr. Rossley was awarded the Purple Heart.
At the end of World War II, Mr. Rossley opted to re-enlist in the Army Air Corps. He served aboard planes transporting cargo in and out of Korea during that war. He later served with Inspector General teams during the Vietnam War, conducting periodic in-country combat performance and readiness reviews. When Master Sergeant Rossley retired from the Air Force in 1970, he had earned thirteen additional medals to go with his Purple Heart.
In his post-military life, Mr. Rossley went on to work for the State University of New York Police at the Delhi campus, retiring in 1990 after twenty years of dedicated and faithful service. He is a forty-two year member of American Legion Post 190 in Delhi, where he has served in a number of leadership roles; Mr. Rossley also spent three decades serving as a member of the Bovina Fire Department, including time as captain of the emergency squad. He has trained and certified countless fire police personnel, instilling in them his special sense of service and ensuring his legacy will continue to live on.