Joseph S. Forte was born on March 26, 1929 in Kingston, New York. At age 15, he joined the New York Guard and became a distinguished marksman. Shortly after turning 16, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and trained as a B-25 Gunner, becoming an instructor with the rank of Sergeant. When it was discovered he was underage, he was discharged and returned home until he turned 17, when he reenlisted.
For 26 years, Mr. Forte played the trumpet with the United States Military Academy Band’s “Hellcats” and traveled with the Army Football Team. Due to his excellent work ethic and skill, Mr. Forte received the Excellence in Competition Marksmanship Award, achieved by only a small percentage in the military.
Mr. Forte served on active duty in the Army from World War II, through Korea, and into the Vietnam War era, and has continued to serve veterans, their families and his community since retiring from service in 1973. He has been actively involved in many organizations, including Ulster County Chapter 60, Vietnam Veterans of America, Ulster County Chapter 156 Disabled American Veterans (DAV), American Legion Post 150, VFW Post 1386, and is an honorary member of Ulster Detachment 253, Marine Corps League. Mr. Forte has held numerous offi ces, including Commander of American Legion Post 150, and Commander of U.C. Chapter 156 D.A.V.
Mr. Forte is a past recipient of the Kingston Veterans Association Veteran of The Year honor and is the bugler for the New York State Disabled American Veterans. He continues to play his bugle at the funerals of fellow veterans, and at age 86, shows little sign of slowing down.
Mr. Forte has earned many awards for his bravery, courage and dedication including the World War II Gunners Wings, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal 9th Award, National Defense Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, New York State Conspicuous Service Cross, Under-Aged Veterans Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, and the Expert Qualifi cation Badge for Rifle, Pistol, Carbine.