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Forbes, Bernard B., Jr. (1920-2002)


Forbes, Bernard B. (1920-2002)

Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Based on two interviews conducted by Paul Stillwell in December 1991 and February 1992. The volume contains 239 pages of interview transcript plus a comprehensive index. The transcript is copyright 2007 by the U.S. Naval Institute; the interviewee placed no restrictions on its use.


Beetle Forbes was a skilled naval aviator and gifted storyteller. Following his graduation from the Naval Academy, he served in the destroyer Barton (DD-722), 1944-47, including combat duty in the Pacific. He was briefly commanding officer of the patrol craft PC-572 before going through flight training, 1947-49. His first fleet assignment as an aviator was in Composite Squadron 33 (VC-33). He had two stretches of duty as flag lieutenant to Admiral Felix B. Stump, initially when Stump was ComNavAirLant and Commander Second Fleet, later when Stump was CinCPacFlt/CinCPac. Sandwiched between was Forbes's duty as flight instructor, 1953-55. Subsequent tours included Attack Squadron 15 (VA-15), postgraduate education at Stanford University, and the senior course at the Naval War College. In the early 1960s Forbes commanded Attack Squadron 176 (VA?176), served as air officer of the carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA?42), and was in the manpower section, OP-103, on the OpNav staff. During his time flying AD Skyraiders in attack squadrons, he trained for possible delivery of nuclear weapons. He commanded the ammunition ship Shasta (AE?6) in 1966-67, during a Vietnam deployment. From 1967 to 1969 he was a detailer in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, and then commanded the aircraft carrier Independence (CVA-62), which deployed to the Mediterranean. Duties in the early 1970s were as chief of staff to Commander Sixth Fleet, head detailer in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, and command of Carrier Group Six, and Carrier Group Two. His final active duty was as Deputy Commander in Chief Atlantic/Deputy Commander in Chief Atlantic Fleet. The oral history contains a number of personal insights on Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, Jr., for whom Forbes served in both Sixth Fleet and the Atlantic Fleet.



An individual who specialized in carrier aviation and personnel administration was Vice Admiral Bernard B. "Beetle" Forbes, Jr. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1944 and had combat duty in the destroyer Barton (DD-722) before reporting for flight training in 1947. He subsequently developed a close relationship with Admiral Felix B. Stump, for whom he served two tours as flag lieutenant. Forbes was later chief of staff and deputy to Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, Jr. As an aviator, Forbes flew AD Skyraiders in Attack Squadrons 15 and 176. He was air officer of the Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) and commanding officer of the ammunition ship Shasta (AE-6) and carrier Independence (CVA-62). Other sea tours included command of Carrier Groups Six and Two. Ashore, Forbes was a detailer in the Bureau of Personnel and served in the manpower shop of OpNav.


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