Academy Graduate Serves
40 Years in the Submarine Force, Leaves Historic Legacy
By JOC Michael Foutch, USN, with
information from the Navy Wire Service
Admiral Robert L.J. Long, who served 40 years with the Submarine
Force, passed away on 27 June 2002 and was honored at a memorial
service on 11 July at the Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis. ADM
Long's family and more than one hundred friends from the sea service
and the corporate community heard Chaplain Luther Alexander
characterize ADM Long as having "led a life that should encourage
all of us."
A 1943 graduate of the U.S. Naval
Academy, ADM Long was the Vice Chief of Naval Operations from 1977
until 1979, and the 11th Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Pacific Forces (CINCPAC)
from 1979 to 1983. Perhaps his greatest achievement , however, was
inspiring and influencing many of the Navy leaders who occupy some of
the top command positions today. One of them, current CINCPAC ADM
Thomas Fargo, said, "He was a very strong, yet - I would say - a
warm and charismatic leader. The first time I met ADM Long was in
1976, when I took a position as his aide," ADM Fargo remembered
during the ceremony. "He said, 'Tom, I want you to know I didn't
hire you to carry my bags. I hired you for your brains. But - you're
gonna carry the bags, too.'"
Four days after ADM Long took over as
CINCPAC on 31 October 1979, Iranian militants overran the U.S. Embassy
in Tehran and seized 70 American staff members. The U.S. response
included a show of military strength in the Indian Ocean, demanding
long, tensionfilled hours from the new CINCPAC. After a four-year
tenure, dealing with the Soviet threat in the Western Pacific and
working to build a warm relationship between the military and local
residents in Hawaii, ADM Long retired in June 1983. "I think he
felt it was important for the military to have a strong relationship
with Hawaii and its people, and that's where he put his
emphasis," Fargo said. "Even after he retired, he came back
here about every year to visit."
A native of Kansas City, Missouri, ADM
Long graduated from the Academy with distinction following an
accelerated course of study imposed by the demands of World War II.
Subsequently, he served aboard the battleship USS Colorado
(BB-45), earning the Bronze Star with combat "V" for his
meritorious service as plotting room officer during operations against
Japanese forces in the Philippine Islands and the Ryukyus late in the
|Surrounded by members of his
family, ADM Long's son, Robert Long, of Seattle, Washington,
receives the ceremonial flag.
Following the war and Submarine School,
Long served at sea on several submarines and also as an associate
professor with the Naval Reserve Officer Training Unit at the
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Then, after graduating from
the Naval War College in 1954 and commanding USS Sea Leopard
(SS-483), he served on ADM Rickover's staff in 1959 and 1960. Next, he
was the first Gold-crew commander of the Navy's second U.S. ballistic
missile submarine, USS Patrick Henry (SSBN-599) fro m August
1960 to August 1963 and then the Commanding Officer of the Lafayette-class
SSBN USS Casimir Pulaski (SSBN-633) (Blue).
After his promotion to flag rank, ADM
Long served with Commander, Service Group THREE/Commander Task Force
73, and Deputy Commander for Fleet Maintenance and Logistic Support,
Naval Ship Systems Command, before assuming duty as Commander,
Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet in June 1972. Two years later,
the admiral was named Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Submarine
After his tours as Vice Chief of Naval
Operations and CINCPAC, ADM Long retired in July 1983. Nine of the
officers on his staff as Vice Chief were later promoted to flag
VADM Joe Williams, who served with ADM
Long, eulogized his friend. "Bob never lost sight of the idea of
a balanced Navy. He had strong opinions on how the Navy should be
structured and the missions it should take." VADM Williams also
recalled how one of ADM Long's key decisions led to the Navy's
assuming ownership of a former "snake-infested, never - used,
costly-to-maintain, NATO ammunition facility in Georgia" that
later became the Kings Bay Submarine Base, characterizing the episode
with the old saying "If you'll buy that, I've got some coastal
swampland in Georgia to sell you."
After retirement, the admiral worked as
a consultant and a member of the Board of Directors for Northrop
Grumman Corporation and Hudson Industries. Additionally, he was
appointed to head the commission that investigated the 1983 terrorist
bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.
"Bob believed and forcefully
expressed his conviction that leaders should first and foremost be
imbued with honesty, integrity, a sense of morality, an understanding
of right and wrong, and a strong, strong work ethic," VADM
Williams noted. "We can all be grateful he came our
ADM Long is survived by his wife, the
former Sara Helms of Jacksonville, Florida, and their three sons,
Charles, William, and Robert. Charles Long offered a brief tribute to
his father: "He cared deeply about three things - his wife, his
family, and his Navy. We moved 23 times during his career, but he
always taught us that home is not a place, but where your family is.
With my father, it was hard to say where his family ended and his Navy
family began. People were always the focus of his life."
Task Force EXCEL
Focuses on Training
by COMNAVSUBFOR Public
As the Chief of Naval Operations aims
to revolutionize training, Task Force EXCEL (Excellence through
Commitment to Education and Learning) is making waves in the already
highly trained Submarine Force.
Task Force EXCEL is a group designed to take an in-depth look at how
the Navy trains its Sailors and to develop ways to i m p rove that
training, said Atlantic Submarine Force Master Chief Don Kultti. He
said the goal is to develop Sailors both personally and
"We want to give Sailors the same level of certification as their
civilian counterparts and improve the quality of training at the same
time," said Kultti.
Stan Meyers, Submarine Warfare Division Training Officer, said Task
Force EXCEL has one simple purpose: to improve training.
He said the task force is affecting the Submarine Force much the same
as it is the rest of the Navy - it is changing the focus of
"It's looking more at individual
human performance instead of standard classroom training," said
He explained that the classroom may not
be the best place for all learning.
"If we can train Sailors on
systems they will operate in the fleet and avoid putting them in a
classroom, we can cut down on time and cost," said Meyers.
"The manpower to train students in classrooms is the most
expensive part of training.
"With the addition of the Undersea
Warfare Learning Center, Training Support Centers and new training
curriculum for certain rates, Kultti said the Submarine Force is on
the road to more efficient training. The Submarine Operation Center
for Excellence seems to bear the most impact so far, said Kultti. He
said it will serve as one voice for the entire submarine force to
dissolve any communication deficiency among training sites.
Kultti said that none of this is to say
Navy training is broken. He, along with others including George Horn,
Task Force EXCEL action officer, believes they have been doing a
pretty good job of training submariners. "The Submarine Force has
always valued its people and valued training," said Horn.
"This is just an improvement on that."
COMSUBLANT Sailors of
Submarine Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMSUBLANT) awarded its Sailor of
the Quarter and Junior Sailor of the Quarter honors recently in the
NH-95 Building auditorium on the Naval Support Activity Norfolk
compound. Storekeeper 1st Class (SS) Marlon D. Wilkins received the
Sailor of the Quarter award for his duties as the staff storekeeper.
His exceptional fiscal management of a $5 million budget helped him
earn the award. Electronics Technician 3rd Class Sabrina R. Rollins
was honored as the Junior Sailor of the Quarter. As a member of the
Base Consolidated Telecommunications Center, she qualified as Staff
Supervisor, a position normally held by a senior petty officer.
COMSUBLANT Chief of Staff CAPT Joe Walsh presented the Sailors their
awards and extended a personal thank you to both Sailors for their