As the first female staff judge advocate in the Maryland National Guard, Col. Rose M. Forrest, J.D. ’06, led legal operations for the Guard during a very challenging time: the COVID-19 pandemic. The Guard supported COVID testing and vaccination efforts across the state. She was recognized for her accomplishments when she was named the overall winner for The Daily Record’s 2021 Leadership in Law awards program.
An Iraq veteran, Forrest has been serving the Army since 1998. In January 2020, she was named the state’s first female staff judge advocate, a role in which she serves as legal adviser to the National Guard’s Adjutant General and manages legal programs for the office of the Staff Judge Advocate.
In a statement released to announce her promotion, Forrest noted that she was the only female member of the JAG Corps when she joined. So when staffing the office, Forrest made a point of keeping diversity in mind — not just diversity of gender and ethnicity, but diversity of thought as well.
“I think if somebody walks in for an interview and their legal philosophy is completely different from mine, I’m probably going to hire them,” Forrest said. “When somebody presents them with a problem, [they are able] to analyze the problem and look at it from different perspectives.”
Earlier this year, she earned a master’s degree in Military and Strategic Leadership from the U.S. Army War College. Forrest previously worked in private practice, focusing on family law, real estate law and birth advocacy. In 2020, she was named first runner-up in the 2020 Ms. Veteran America competition, a fundraiser for homeless women veterans and their children.