Deke Forbes enlisted in the
U.S. Navy in July1944. He attended Boot Camp at Farragut, Idaho. Prior to his
assignment to the pre-commissioning crew of he USS PROVIDENCE, CL-82, he attended
Fire Control Operator's School at Fort Lauderdale, FL. He was subsequently ordered
to the Naval Academy Prep School, Bainbridge, MD in September 1945. He was admitted to the
U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY on a Fleet Appointment in June 1946.
Graduating with Distinction from the Naval Academy in June 1950, he reported for flight
training at Pensacola, FL in September 1950, earning his wings in February 1952. He then
attended All-weather Flight School at Corpus Christi, TX and Jet Transitional Training at
Kingsville, TX prior to reporting to VF-61, the "Jolly Rogers", based at Oceana,
VA. While attached to VF-61 he made two extended deployments to the Mediterranean and
several shorter deployments. While in VF-61 he flew the F9F-2, F9F-5, F9F-6, F9F-7 and
In July 1955, he reported to the U.S. NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL, Monterey, CA., earning
his BS, Aeronautical Engineering in June 1957. The following year he was awarded an MS,
Aeronautical Engineering form the University of Michigan. After completing his
postgraduate education, he was ordered to VX-4 at Point Mugu, CA., where he participated
in air-to-ground missile projects and the APG-53A Terrain Clearance and Ryan Doppler Radar
Navigator project. While in VX-4 he flew the A4A, A4B, F9F-8T, FJ-4B and the F3D-2, as
well as the squadron "Bugsmasher"--SNB.
Deke was assigned to the Command and Staff Course, NAVAL WAR COLLEGE, as a student in
August 1960. After completing that course, he and several other NWC fighter/attack
classmates were ordered to VAH-123, NAS Whidbey Island for A-3 training. Upon completion
of VAH-123 training he was ordered to VAH-4 where he became the Officer-in-Charge,
VAH4-DETACHMENT GOLF, part of CVG-16 in USS ORISKANY, CVA-34. He completed an extended
WESTPAC cruise in ORISKANY in December 1962, while flying the A3B-2.
Leaving VAH-4 in February, 1964, he reported to USS CORAL SEA, CVA-43 as Nuclear Weapons
Officer. He deployed with CORAL SEA in December 1964, returning to CONUS in November 1965.
While deployed, he was heavily involved
in Strike Planning for air operations against North Vietnam from carrier decks in the
Tonkin Gulf. While in CORAL SEA he qualified as OOD and CDO Underway(Task Force Steaming).
He also flew the C1A, T-33B and A3B while attached to CORAL SEA.
He was ordered to VAH-2 as XO in November 1965. He became Officer-in Charge of VAH-2
DETACHMENT FOXTROT, joining them on USS RANGER,CVA-61 in the Tonkin Gulf in January 1966.
Completing the USS RANGER cruise in August 1966, he became C.O. VAH-2 in January 1967. In
December 1967 he was ordered to report to the NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, Washington, DC
where he became the Assistant Project Manager, Logistics for the VFX(F-14) and VSX(S-3A).
One year later he was ordered back to Whidbey Island to serve as C.O. VAH-123.
In January 1970, he was detached as C.O. VAH-123 and reported to COMCARDIV TWO as
Operations Officer, serving in that role until August 1971. He was then ordered to the
INDUSTRIAL COLLEGE of the ARMED FORCES(ICAF), Washington, DC for a course of study.
Graduating with Distinction from ICAF in June 1972, he then reported to NAS QUONSET
POINT,RI as Commanding Officer. A year later he reported to the Superintendent, U.S. NAVAL
ACADEMY as the 65th Commandant of Midshipmen.
Upon being relieved as Commandant, USNA in July 1976 he reported to OPNAV to become Head,
OP-602. Captain Forbes chose to retire in June 1977, after 27 years of Commissioned
service and 33 years of continuous naval service. He immediately joined Dean Witter
Reynolds as an Account Executive and 18 months later joined Booz, Allen & Hamilton,
subsequently becoming a Principal in the company and Project Manager of the multibillion
Saudi Naval Expansion Program He retired from Booz,Allen in 1986 and has since spent his
time relaxing at golf and travel.
Forbes is a former member, SOCIETY of EXPERIMENTAL TEST PILOTS, and a current TRUSTEE,
U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY FOUNDATION. He has been married to the former Rosamond Marshall for
almost 50 years. The Forbes have three children; Kerry Forbes Johnson of Charlotte, NC; D.
Kimberly Forbes of Fort Lauderdale, FL; and COMMANDER Donald. C. (Deke) Forbes, USN of
Virginia Beach, VA.