Taxed And Toughened: Achieving Balance In A Dual Military Family

Robert S. & Mary J. (Costello) Forbes


Both Robert S. and Mary J. (Costello) Forbes came to West Point from Pennsylvania, and found success and each other on the Orienteering Team. Upon graduation, Bob branched Infantry and was posted to Korea, maintaining a long distance relationship with Mary, who served as the Brigade Executive Officer in her Firstie Year. When she graduated, she branched Military Intelligence and selected Fort Lewis, Washington, to be close to Bob, who was stationed there. After getting married, they reached a crossroads where they had to determine the best course of action for their young family, and balance that with their desire for continued service to the nation. They both decided that the Washington Army National Guard offered the best opportunity to combine service with family, and both eventually retired as Colonels. In this interview, the Forbes describe their Cadet experiences, highlighting their involvement with the Orienteering Team. They discuss some of the issues facing women in the Corps during the early years at the gender-integrated academy. They talk about some of their experiences in the active duty Army and about their decision, as a couple, to transition to the National Guard. They explain how they were able to balance service, raising a family, and two careers. Finally, they reflect upon their daughter’s experience, who is continuing their legacy of service to the nation.


topics West Point History Women in Service Military Families Military Family Life After Military
interviewer Johanna Forbes
date 25 August 2017


name Robert S. & Mary J. (Costello) Forbes
institution USMA
graduation year 1981 / 1983
service Infantry / Military Intelligence
unit Washington Army National Guard
specialty Orienteering
service dates 1981 2010