Gaylord Theodore Forrest was born in Oakland, California, on January 30, 1917. He attended University High School in Oakland, and the University of California at Berkeley, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts from the latter in 1938. He was subsequently employed as a Special Agent in the San Francisco Office of the Aetna Casualty and Surety Company of Hartford, Connecticut. In March 1941 he was appointed an Aviation Cadet in the US Naval Reserve, and after flight training at the Naval Air Stations, Oakland, California: Jacksonville, Florida and Corpus Christi, Texas, he was designated Naval Aviator and commissioned Ensign, USNR on October 10, 1941. Advancing progressively in rank he subsequently attained that of Captain, to date from April 1, 1961, having transferred from the Naval Reserve to the Regular Navy on November 1, 1944.
After receiving his commission in 194, he joined Cruiser Scouting Squadron Nine, based on the USS Honolulu. In May 1942 he transferred to Scouting Squadron One-D-Fourteen, and while attached to that squadron participated in the rescue of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, USA, who had disappeared with seven Army men in a plane flight from Oahu, Hawaii. They were found and rescued on November 13-14, 1942. In March 1943 he was assigned to Scouting Squadron Fifty-One, and during the period October 1943 to May 1953 served with Composite Squadron Fifteen. He reported as Executive Officer of Torpedo Squadron Three in May 1945 and in June 1946, he assumed command of Attack Squadron Sixteen-A, attached to the USS Boxer and later the USS Antietam.
Following instruction at the General Line School, February- December 1948, he served as project Officer in the Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, Washington, DC, and in January 1951 reported as Executive Officer of Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron Two. From August 1952 to June 195 he attended the command and staff course at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, after which he had duty ad Administrative Officer at the Naval Air Technical Training Center. Memphis, Tennessee.
He joined the USS Leyte as Air Officer in November 1954 and in July 1956 reported as Executive Officer of Heavy Attack Squadron Seven. In August 1957 he became Head of the Guided Missiles Airborne Branch of the Bureau of Ordnance, Navy Department. Upon the establishment of the Bureau of Naval Weapons (consolidation of the Bureaus of Ordnance and Aeronautics), he served there as Head of the Air Launched Guided Missiles Branch until February 1960, when he was assigned to the Staff of Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force. In February 1963 he assumed duty as Assistant Chief of Staff Hunter Killer Force ASW to Commander Carrier Division Sixteen.
Captain Forrest has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; China Service Medal; and the National Defense Service Medal.
Captain Forrest is a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity.