Raised in Jacksonville, Mr. Forbess attended Bishop Kenny High School. He went on to earn his Bachelor's Degree in Accounting. After graduating college, he was commissioned as an Army Officer at 20 years of age. Mr. Forbess was an Infantry 2nd Lieutenant in Korea and commanded Rifle, Mortar and Anti-Tank Platoons. He worked the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. Ray completed Airborne School, Ranger School, and the Special Forces (Green Beret) qualification course in addition to the Infantry Officer's Basic and Advanced Course. He qualified as an Expert Marksman on various weapons including the .45 pistol, M16 Rifle, M203 Grenade Launcher, M.60 Machine gun, and .50 Caliber Machine Gun.
As a Special Forces Officer, Mr. Forbess was commander of several 12 man "A" Team detachments as well as a Battalion Staff Officer. He was also in charge of approximately 125 soldiers as Commander of D. Company, 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group. Mr. Forbess was in Special Forces on Airborne Status units for approximately 10 years. He has parachuted from helicopters, cargo planes, and cargo jets. Approximately half of the jumps were at night.
Ray belongs to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the U.S. Army Ranger Association, and the U.S. Army Special Forces Association.
After active duty in the Army, Mr. Forbess started and ran Center Office Products in Jacksonville in 1981. He and his family sold the company to an international company in 1996.
After selling his business, Ray attended Florida Coastal Law School and graduated with his Juris Doctorate with Honors. He was also an Editor of Law Review, a privilege reserved for those at the very top of the class.
Mr. Forbess accepted a position as an Assistant Public Defender for the Fourth Judicial Circuit, Florida. For three years, he served the people of Jacksonville by providing legal services for indigent clients.