Gary Wayne Long
Colonel,United States Army
a contemporary press report:
Gary W. Long spent much of his life immersed in all things military: After leaving active duty in the Army, he spent the rest of his career as a civilian employee in the Army Reserves. And when he wasn't working, he was reading military history, and, once a month, re-enacting it.
"What was an overall, encompassing thing to Gary was an abiding love for his country and a dedication to the values which this country was founded on," said his longtime friend and colleague, Steve Patarcity, of Coraopolis.
Long, 47, who died of cancer Sunday at his Bridgeville home, first began participating in a re-enactment from the Revolutionary War era after becoming reacquainted with Patarcity, whom he had known while a student at Duquesne University and who had joined the 99th Regional Support Command.
"When I invited him along to an event with the 1st New Jersey Regiment, he became fascinated," said Patarcity.
From there, they moved on to the French and Indian War, participating in re-enactments involving Roger's Rangers, who were members of the British Army -- "the good guys in that war," said Patarcity. Formally known today as the Pennsylvania Company of Roger's Rangers -- Jaeger's Battalion (a national group based in Michigan), the rangers served as scouts in this region, conducting raids into French-held territory.
Long would take his wife, Robin, to the events, where, dressed in full historical costume, he did the fighting while she took care of the tent and the cooking, she recalled. "We've camped on Mount Vernon and in Williamsburg, but the most exciting one had to be our trip to Lexington, Massachusetts, to re-enact the 225th anniversary of Paul Revere's ride."
Such experiences led to a strong interest in genealogy, where Long discovered that a distant ancestor was in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment, and that his wife's ancestors "came over before the Mayflower," she laughed.
In his workday life, Long spend much time trying to help manage the demands of a modern army, as a supervisory management analyst at the headquarters of the 99th Regional Support Command in Coraopolis. There, he and other staffers -- who were required to be reservists in order to work there -- engaged in long-range planning, efficiency studies, the development of Army units and the fielding of all modern equipment.
"He was brilliant, a voracious reader, but quiet and unassuming," said Patarcity.
A native of Carmichaels, Greene County, Long graduated with a bachelor's degree in education from Duquesne University and, later, earned a master's in science degree in systems management from the University of Southern California.
After graduating from the ROTC program at Duquesne in 1977, he joined the Army as a platoon leader in Fort Hood, Texas, and went on to serve in Schweinfurt, Germany, and Fort Monroe, Virginia. He retired from active duty in 1988, but was called up again in 1990, and served in "Operation Just Cause" in Panama.
During his years as a reservist, he served as an intelligence officer and, in 1998, was named commander of the 3401st Military Intelligence Detachment in Meadville. In February, a month after he was diagnosed with cancer, he was promoted to Colonel.
Besides his wife, Long is survived by his parents, Wayne and Betty Markulik Long; two brothers, Michael and Marc; and a sister, Patti Long Fancher, all of Carmichaels.
A service will be held tomorrow at 11 a.m. and the ashes will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Pennsylvania
Company of Roger's Rangers -- Jaeger's Battalion, c/o Steve Patarcity,
2 Oxford Drive, Coraopolis 15108.