Maj. Stephen V. Long
Hometown: Ga., USA
Occupation: Secretary of the General Staff, U.S. Total Army Personnel Command, U.S. Army
Location: Ground, Pentagon
"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." -- Sue Weaver, mother
Army Maj. Stephen Vernon Long, 39, entered active duty as an enlisted soldier 20 years before he was killed in the Pentagon attack. He started with a stint as a gunner at Fort Lewis, Wash., in July 1981, and as with many longtime servicemen, his career took him across the globe, from conflict to conflict.
Long saw military action as a paratrooper in Grenada with the 2nd Ranger Battalion in Operation Urgent Fury, where he received a Purple Heart. Seven years later, as a platoon leader for the 82nd Airborne Division, Long was among the first troops deployed to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, for Operation Desert Shield and the ensuing Persian Gulf War.
In the interim, Long had been selected for a "Green to Gold" scholarship to Augusta (Ga.) State University and moved from the enlisted to officer ranks.
Long remained in Saudi Arabia until March 1993, when he moved to Fort Bragg, N.C., followed by a nearly three-year tour in Germany. In April 1998, Long joined the U.S. Total Army Personnel Command in Alexandria, where he was working as secretary of the general staff for the office of the commanding general. A meeting brought him to the Pentagon on Sept. 11.
He is survived by his wife and two stepsons.
Source: The Washington Post, AP and washingtonpost.com
The profiles in this feature were written in the months following Sept. 11, 2001.
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