Officer Wellness Counselor

Josh Forbess

SSG Josh Forbess, Bio

SSG Josh Forbess enlisted into the Army on July 27, 1995.  He conducted his Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at 1st Battalion, 31st Field Artillery, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he graduated from the 13B Cannon Crewmember (Field Artillery) school.  His first assignment was with 2nd Howitzer Battery, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Armored Calvary Regiment at Fort Polk, Louisiana.  In September 1997, he deployed, in support of Operation Joint Guard, to the war torn country of Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he would spend 10 months.  After returning to Fort Polk, SSG Forbess completed the Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC), was promoted to Sergeant, and re-enlisted for the first time.  In September 1999, he reported to Comanche Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.  In May 2001, SSG Forbess’ Battery were deployed in support of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment to the Province of Kosovo.  While in Kosovo, the attacks of the World Trade Center on 9/11 happened.  SSG Forbess decided it was time to conduct his second re-enlistment.  On March 8, 2003, he was deployed to Kuwait for the upcoming invasion of Iraq.  

On November 15, 2003, while on an Aerial Quick Reaction Force mission, the UH-60D Black Hawk helicopter he was riding on came under attack.  While conducting evasive maneuvers, his Black Hawk collided with another Black Hawk, causing them both to crash.  SSG Forbess was one of five survivors, in an incident that claimed 17 101st Soldiers.  After spending eight weeks in a medically induced coma, SSG Forbess awoke in a hospital bed at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.  He was burned on 11 ½% of his body, primarily to his face, head, and right arm.  He had broken bones in both hands and suffered from severe smoke inhalation.  SSG Forbess had difficulties adjusting to his new normal, like many Soldiers, but he knew that he had found his calling.  After being discharged, he started visiting with Soldiers and their Families, trying to give them hope, inspiration, and guidance.  Who better would know what “that side of the bed” is like, than a fellow Soldier who was injured as well?  Over Memorial Day 2004, SSG Forbess returned to his unit to work as the Training NCO (non-commissioned officer), and re-enlisted for yet a third time.   He aided in starting a national non-profit organization for wounded Service Members, volunteered his time at the Fort Campbell Fisher House, continued to heal both mentally and physically, and tried to give back to his Brothers and Sisters-in-Arms.  In January 2007, SSG Forbess was moved over to the Blanchfield Army Community Hospital to serve as an Ombudsman, where he was an advocate and liaison for Soldiers and their Families.  The following year, SSG Forbess accepted the NCOIC (non-commissioned officer in charge) of the newly “stood-up” Soldier and Family Assistance Center.  SSG Forbess re-enlisted his fourth and final time for “indefinite” status shortly after assuming this position.  His effort to give back has afforded him many opportunities to meet numerous people and allow him to gain recognition as a motivational speaker.  

On November 28, 2008, SSG Forbess was awarded the 675 Presidential Volunteer Service Award from President George W. Bush.  SSG Forbess remained dedicated to his fellow Soldiers, their Families, and the United States Army.  His awards included:  Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, two Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, six Army Achievement Medals, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, six Army Good Conduct Medals, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, two National Defense Service Medals, Armed Forces Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Meal, 2 NATO Medals (Bosnia and Kosovo).  SSG Forbess also is a 2000 graduate from the Air Assault School and has been awarded the Combat Action Badge.  He retired from Active Duty on November 11, 2015.