Captain Robert John Long
Capt Robert John Long was born to Michael and Charlotte Long in Tishomingo, OK on 7 November 1967. He graduated from Wheat Ridge High School, Wheat Ridge, CO in 1986, having become an Eagle Scout in 1985.
Robert attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO where he became a member of the Pershing Rifle Team. He graduated in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He was commissioned as an Air Force 2nd Lieutenant on May 1990 by Lieutenant Colonel Corry Mordeaux.
Capt Long attended training at Tyndall AFB, FL and Tinker AFB, OK before going to his first operational assignment at the 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan, where he served as a Weapons Director and instructor from November 1991 to May 1995. Capt Long deployed to Panama several times to fight the President’s War on Drugs and coordinated deployments to Cope Thunder, PACAFs largest war-fighting exercise. In September 1992, he commissioned his sister, Kathleen Long, as an Air Force 2nd Lieutenant.
Capt Long upgraded to Senior Director and then transferred to the 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron, Elmendorf AFB, AK. He loved the outdoors and organized several adventures in his short time in Alaska, including trips to remote Forest Service cabins. Captain “Cowboy” Long was Senior Director on Yukla 27. He, along with 23 other flight crew members on board, perished on 22 September 1995, when the starboard side engines of their flight suffered a catastrophic bird strike.
His military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (Posthumous), the Aerial Achievement Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster), the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the 18th Wing’s 1992 Top Gun award.