Maj. Long enlisted in the United States Army in July 1981. He went to Infantry Training and onto the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning. He became a Ranger. He was assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington, to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Infantry (Ranger) Regiment as a gunner.
In 1983, SPC Long parachuted onto the island of Greneda as part of Operation Urgent Fury. He received a Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal for Valor. His wife, tina, tells the story of SPC Long floating down to the island and pleading with the enemy to miss him, "I'm really a nice guy. You wouldn't be shooting at me if you knew what a nice guy I am." He landed unharmed. Later in the conflict, during a rad on a Cuban military camp, several Blackhawk helicopters carrying Rangers, came under fire and crashed. His roommate and best friend was killed. Though injured, SPC Long continued the fight.
Long was selected for a three year ROTC Scholarship - the "Green to Gold" Program - and attended Augusta State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and receiving his commission at a 2nd Lieutenant with the Quartermaster Corps. He continued work on his Masters degree and was planning on a Doctorate and hoped to teach at Augusta State after graduation.
He was one of the first troops deployed to Dhahran, Saudia Arabia for Operation Desert Shield in August 1990 and remained for the Persian Gulf War with the 82nd Airborne Division, where he served as a platoon leader.
Eventually, due to injuries, Maj Long became part of the personnel division, the U. S. Total Army Personnel Command in Alexandria, where he was working a s secretary fo the general staff for the office of the commanding general.
Survived by his wife, Tina, two stepsons, David and Tryon Hopkins, and his mother, Sue Weaver.
Sue Weaver remembers, ""Stephen was quite a naturalist. He just loved planting and gardening. He originally wanted to be in forestry and even signed up for it at the local junior college, so it surprised me when he decided to go into the military instead. He planted white pines, blue spruces and red maples in our yard, as well as some wonderful azaleas. The place is just so beautiful. My husband and I have seven children between us, and Stephen planted seven white pines in the yard. Ironically, one of the trees is dying and will have to be removed. It was one of the tallest. Stephen was quite tall, too."
"It was just his love of his country," his wife, Tina said. "I know it sounds simple, but that's the way he was."
Major Stephen V Long is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Section 64 with the other victims of September 11 at the Pentagon.
Maj Long's Legacy pages are available for viewing and for comment.
Tribute from the Pentagon Memorial Page:
Major Stephen V. Long was dedicated to his wife and family. He was a kind and generous man who loved God. He honored his country and his flag. He was a war hero even before September 11th, 2001.
Major Long enlisted in the United States Army in July 1981 and attended Infantry training and the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia. After completing training, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Infantry (Ranger) Regiment at Fort Lewis, Washington.
In October 1983, then-Specialist Long parachuted onto the island of Grenada as part of Operation Urgent Fury, where he earned the Army Commendation Medal for Valor and the Purple Heart. After Grenada, he was selected for a three-year ROTC scholarship and was subsequently discharged from the Army to attend Augusta State University in Georgia. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and was commissioned in the United States Army in November 1989 as a second lieutenant with the Quartermaster Corps. After attending the Quartermaster Officer Basic Course, Lieutenant Long was assigned as a platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
In August 1990 he deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm where he served as a platoon leader. Upon his return to the 82nd Airborne Division in March 1991, he assumed the responsibilities of company executive officer and later as an assistant brigade logistics officer. In 1995, he graduated from the Combined Logistics Officer Advanced Course at Fort Lee, Virginia with a follow-on assignment as a battalion logistics officer and, later, as a company commander with the 601st Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, in Katterbach, Germany.
Captain Long was assigned to the U.S. Total Army Personnel Command in April 1998, where he served as an assignment officer in the Officer Personnel Management Directorate and, later, as the Secretary of the General Staff for the Command. He was promoted to major on November 1, 2000.
Major Long’s military training includes Infantry One Station Unit Training, the Primary Leadership Development Course, the Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course, Jungle Warfare School, the United States Army Ranger Course, the United States Air Force Survival Training Course, the Quartermaster Officer Basic Course, Combined Logistics Officer Advanced Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, and the Petroleum Officer Course.
Major Long’s awards and decorations include: the Legion of Merit, Purple Heart (one Oak Leaf Cluster), the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor (two Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Achievement Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster), the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Bronze Arrowhead and the Bronze Service Star. Service and campaign medals include: the National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal and the Armed Forces Service Medal. Major Long was also awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, the Ranger Tab, and the Parachutist Badge with Bronze Service Star.
Major Long is survived by his wife, Tina Long, and stepsons, David and Tryon Hopkins.