WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Admiral Robert L. J. Long, 82, a 1943 Naval Academy graduate, Vice Chief of Naval Operations from 1977 until 1979, and the 11th Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces (CINCPAC), passed away June 27 at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
Adm. Thomas Fargo, who currently leads Pacific Command, said "He was a very strong yet, I would say, a warm and charismatic leader."
Fargo, a naval aide to Long in 1976-79 when Long was deputy chief of naval operations for submarine warfare and then vice chief of naval operations, said his former boss was among the first to be part of Adm. Hyman Rickover's nuclear Navy.
Long commanded the second U.S. ballistic missile submarine built, USS Patrick Henry (SSR[N] 599) from August 1960 to August 1963.
Four days after Adm. Long took over as CINCPAC on Oct. 31, 1979, several thousand Iranian militants overran the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and seized 70 American staff members.
American response included a show of military strength in the Indian Ocean, and long hours for the new CINCPAC.
After a four-year tenure, dealing with the Soviet threat off Hawaii's waters and strained relations between the military and local residents at home, 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, Mo., Long was a 1954 graduate of the Naval War College. Directly following Naval War College, he reported as commanding officer of USS Sea Leopard (SS 483).
Adm. Long served the Navy for 40 years, and was awarded the bronze star with combat "V" for his meritorious service as plotting room officer in USS Colorado (BB 45) during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Philippine Islands and the Ryukyu Islands from November 1944 to May 1945.
Long, a resident of Annapolis, Md., is survived by his wife Sara, and sons, Charles, William and Robert. Funeral services will be held July 11 at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis.