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First Name: Bernard

Last Name: Forbes

Birthplace: Savannah, GA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Brown

Date of Birth: 29 October 1920

Date of Death: 27 June 2002

Rank or Rate: Vice Admiral

Years Served:
Bernard B. Forbes, Jr.

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1945

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Bernard Brown "Beetle" Forbes, Jr.
Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy

Bernard Brown Forbes, Jr. was born on 29 October 1920 in Savannah, GA, but spent most of his formative years in Windy Bottom, MD.

After a year of college, Beetle enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served three years before entering the U.S. Naval Academy in 1941 and graduating in 1944 with the Class of 1945 (early graduation due to WWII). Following his graduation, as an Ensign he was assigned to the destroyer USS Barton. He served on the Barton for the next three years, including combat duty during World War II in the Pacific. For a short period he became the Commanding Officer of the patrol craft USS PC-572 before going through flight training from 1947-49.

After being designated as a Naval Aviator, his first assignment was in Composite Squadron 33. He had two tours of duty as Flag Lieutenant to Admiral Felix B. Stump. From 1953-55 he was a flight instructor. Subsequent tours of duty included Attack Squadron 15, post-graduation study at Stanford University where he earned his Master's degree in Personnel Administration and Training , and attending the Senior Course at the Naval War College.

In the early 1960s Forbes commanded Attack Squadron 176 and served as Air Officer of the carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, and 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 USS Shasta in 1966 and 1967, during a Vietnam deployment. From 1967-69 he was a Detailer in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, and then commanded the aircraft carrier USS Independence (where he became known as the "Donut King of the Fleet), which deployed to the Mediterranean.

In 1972, Beetle was selected for the rank of rear admiral. His flag assignments in the early 1970s were as Chief of Staff to Commander Sixth Fleet, "Daddy Detailer" (Head Detailer) in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, and Commander of Carrier Group Six, and Carrier Group Two. In 1974, Beetle was promoted to vice admiral and assumed what became his final active duty assignment as Deputy Commander-in-Chief Atlantic / Deputy Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Fleet. He retired due to medical reasons in 1977.

Beetle received numerous honors, medals and awards during his 39 years of service to his country.

In Retirement

Upon retirement, he chaired the committee of retired affairs for the Secretary of the Navy, was the first director of the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, an active volunteer for the Red Cross, a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary, and a member of TROA and the USNA Alumni Association. He was also a longtime devout member and participant of the Virginia Beach United Methodist Church.

Death and Burial

Vice Admiral Bernard Brown Forbes, Jr. died on 27 June 2002. He is buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, MD.

Honoree ID: 2502   Created by: MHOH




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