John Philp Forsander was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 13, 1893, son of the late John Henry and Emma S. (Ekstrom) Forsander. He attended the University of Chicago (Illinois) and the Moran Park (Illinois) Seminary. Ordained on April 16, 1915, in the Grace Baptist Church, Chicago, he subsequently served as a Pastor in Council Bluffs, Iowa; Centerville, South Dakota; and Holdrege, Nebraska (1921-1924).
Appointed Acting Chaplain, with the rank of Lieutenant (jg) in the US Navy on January 11, 1924, he subsequently attained the rank of Captain in the Chaplain Corps to date from June 20, 1943.
Upon entering the Champlain Corps in 1924, he had indoctrination training at the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois, until March of that year, when he joined the USS Idaho. He served in that battleship for two months, after which he was assigned to the USS Beaver. In August 1924 he transferred to the USS Mississippi, and continued duty afloat in her until February 1927.
Returning to the United States, he served until January 1928 at the Marine Base, San Diego, California, followed by duty with the Second Marine Brigade in Nicaragua. From September 1928 to March 1929 he was assigned to the Naval Hospital, San Diego, California, after which he had a year’s duty with Navy Relief at San Pedro, California.
In March 1930 he joined the USS Altair and when detached in June 1933, reported for duty with the First Marine Brigade in Haiti. In August 1934, he was assigned to the Marine Base, San Diego, California. He became District Chaplain, Eleventh Naval District, San Diego, California, in October 1934, in October 1934, and in July 1936 reported aboard the USS Nevada. He continued service in that battleship until October 1938, and then returned to the United States for duty with Navy Relief, Long Beach, California.
He joined the USS West Virginia in November 1941, and was in that battleship, based at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, when the Japanese attacked the Naval Base there on December 7, 1941. Following the bombing he also served for three months with the Fleet and Ach District Chaplains. Detached from the West Virginia in March 1942, he reported to the USS Idaho.
He was aboard the Idaho until January 1943, when he was assigned to the Naval Air Technical Training Center, Norman, Oklahoma. Between December 1943 and September 1946 he was District Chaplain, Thirteenth Naval District, Seattle, Washington. He became Senior Champlain at the Naval Hospital, San Diego, California, and remained on duty in that capacity until October 1948, when he reported as District Chaplain, Eighth Naval District, New Orleans, Louisiana. In May 1951 he transferred to similar duty in the Fourteenth Naval District, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, and continues to serve there.
Captain Forsander has the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal; the American Defense Service Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one engagement star; and the World War II Victory Medal.