Throughout his 28-year career as a Signal Corps officer, COL (Ret.) Bob
Forrester was one of the Army's very best tactical communicators, considered
a perfect blend of technician and tactician and called a "national treasure"
by his command.
COL Forrester was drafted into the Army in 1967 and rose from private to
colonel. His career encompassed a variety of assignments, including
rifle company commander in Vietnam with 2/502d Infantry Battalion, 101st
COL Forrester's key assignments included four company commands and
command of 5th Signal Battalion, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort
Polk, La. He held several assignments in both heavy and light combat
divisions and served in a series of staff assignments of ever-increasing
responsibility. These included S-4, Long Lines Battalion, South Korea;
S-3, School Brigade, Fort Monmouth, N.J.; battalion Signal officer, 4/23d
Mechanized Infantry Battalion, Vietnam; commander, Company A, 125th Signal
Battalion, and Signal officer, 2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Hawaii;
assistant inspector general, Forces Command; force development staff
officer, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters
Department of the Army; Training and Doctrine Command liaison officer,
Mobile Subscriber Equipment Fielding Team, Fort Hood, Texas; chief of
Concepts and Studies Division, Directorate of Combat Developments, Fort
Gordon, Ga.; and chief of the Command, Control, Communications, Computers
and Intelligence Requirements Division, Training and Doctrine Command, Fort
Monroe, Va. Many of these positions were jobs directly relating to
defining requirements, funding and developing systems, and fielding
much-needed C4 systems that would support U.S. joint and combined
operations. COL Forrester was also a strong leader who was especially
adept at motivating and developing subordinates to meet new challenges.
COL Forrester's final Army assignment was as director of combat
developments, Fort Gordon. In that job he managed the Army's
long-range planning for designing and developing Signal organizations,
communications and information-systems architecture, concepts, doctrine and
training. COL Forrester then "led the charge" to support those
programs through the Army's budget process and the defense acquisition
COL Forrester's performance and reputation enhanced the Signal Regiment.
During his military career, COL Forrester was a key player in the success of
many of the Army's most critical C41 programs (Mobile Subscriber Equipment,
Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, Enhanced Position-Location
Reporting System, "Joint Stars," Secure Mobile Antijam Reliable Tactical
Terminal and Warfighter Information Network-Tactical). He responded to the
Defense Department, Department of the Army, Training and Doctrine Command
and Congress with impact statements, trade-offs and alternatives to ensure
those programs' and the Signal Regiment's success.
After he retired from the military in July 1996, COL Forrester went to work
with General Dynamics C4 Systems (formally GTE) and is still shaping Army
communications through equipment development, engineering, production and
fielding. Particularly noteworthy is that he continually shares current
information with the Signal Regiment's leadership. COL Forrester's insight
and analysis of Signal issues are respected throughout the Army.
His expertise in communications technologies promotes the Signal Regiment's
success in today's complex mission requirements. His advice, leadership and
friendship often transcend his position at General Dynamics and are made
solely in the Signal Regiment's and Army's best interest. COL Forrester
cares deeply about the Signal Regiment's future and inspires Signal
officers, warrant officers and noncommissioned officers at every level of
command. His contributions to the Regiment continue to be significant,
further emphasizing his position as leader, mentor and great American.
COL Forrester's awards include the Bronze Star medal (three oak-leaf
clusters), Legion of Merit (oak-leaf cluster) and both the Bronze and Silver
Orders of Mercury from the Signal Corps Regimental Association. He was
inducted as a Distinguished Member of the Signal Regiment in 2002.