Local veteran celebrates 97th birthday

Published: Feb. 13, 2020 at 1:32 PM CST
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Sam Forbert may be 97 but he doesn't miss a beat.

"I’ve already been to one birthday party this morning and now I’m here at another one,” said Forbert. “I don't need any more really."

Forbert, a retired brigadier general with the Air National Guard, has an impressive military history. He's a former Korean War pilot and he's the former commander of Meridian's 186th Air Refueling Wing.

Forbert's birthday celebration started early at the Meridian Air Force Association's monthly meeting.

Between bites of birthday cake, Forbert told Newscenter 11 that some of his most memorable experiences include piloting an RF-51 plane.

"I got to fly it again in Korea, after that when we got back and got reorganized again, the first planes we had here at the base were RF-51s,” said Forbert. “It has been my favorite airplane to fly."

Veteran Larry Pace said he worked with Forbert for many years and considers him an important part of the air guard's history.

"He’s just a wonderful person and one of the best friends the guard has ever had, he's a wonderful guy and it's hard to believe he's 97,” said Pace.

Forbert said there's no secret to keeping a youthful spirit but did imply that staying away from excess medication may be helping.

"Some of those pills may not like one another, they'll get together and get to fussing and you'll be worse off than you were before,” said Forbert jokingly.

Forbert retired from the military in the 1980s and said it was an honor to serve. He’s also the father of Meridian native and Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Steve Forbert.

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