A number of messages have been received by the Naval Submarine League paying tribute to Admiral Bob Long. The following are representative of the statements of respect and honor in which he was held by all who knew him.
From RADM Al Kelln, USN(Ret.)
Admiral Bob Long has a special place in the annals of the Naval Submarine League. He relieved Admiral Al Whittle as Chairman about our third year or so of existence. Admiral Whittle had done much on getting our organization documented and standards set. Bob Long gave us credibility within the submarine community when there were still issues of whether or not the Naval Submarine League could serve a useful purpose. It was his intent to make the League visible at the highest levels of DoD. His personality and gentle manner got the NSL Corporate Benefactors Day off to a solid start, and with his steady hand at the helm, Admiral Rickover went along with never an outspoken word.
Bob Long’s relationships with members of Congress were strong and it was his idea to become proactive and give the members and their senior staffers courtesy copies of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW. We soon got feed back that the REVIEW was received as an honest look within the Submarine Force. Our submarine stock rose as we were seen to be big enough to be our own critic as well as telling what we felt the Submarine Force needs were, even if that differed from the Navy’s budget.
One of his dreams was to have the Submarine League with its own analysis capability so we could document all of the suggestions NSL members hear at the Annual Symposium and the Tech Symposium and read in the REVIEW, then evaluate them in White Papers to support new directions of effort. One such example he cited was Jerry Cann’s strong push to get into the AUV (Autonomous Undersea Vehicle) word without delay. Admiral Long wanted to have an independent look at what the payoff could give us in the near and far term. In all, his imprint, though not obviously labeled as such, is in every fiber of the Naval Submarine League. I was extremely proud to be his associate in those formative years.
From CDR Neil, R. Wollam, USN(Ret.)
Admirals have to authorize lots of medals. As an old submariner who turned into an LDO in the submarine repair business, I was fortunate to earn two consecutive Meritorious Service Medals covering a six year period 1984-90 thanks to the hard word work of folks in the Repair Departments of USS McKEE (AS 41) and Trident Refit Facility Bangor. Admiral Long authorized both and I treasure them because I knew he was a submariner plus he took the time to send a note also. Little personal touches mean a lot.
From CAPT David Tuma, USN(Ret.)
Bob and Sara were two of the most wonderful people I have known. As a Lieutenant Commander and Ops on a boat in Norfolk, I had been considering getting out of the Navy and had been job hunting. Admiral Long, who was SUBLANT at the time, called me and asked me to come up to see him to talk about it. I went up and we talked-no pressure at all. He told me that if I changed my mind, he’d like me to come work for him up in Washington-he was headed up to be OP-02. I ended up doing that back in 1975. I had the opportunity to watch how he worked the Pentagon and Washington-he was the best I have ever seen.
On a personal note, I had the opportunity to play squash with him on a few occasions. When first asked, I thought I would be going up to just help him get some exercise. He came on the squash court in an old holy T-shirt, old shorts, and black high-top gym shoes laced part-way up. He quickly let me know we weren’t there for exercise. He was one of the most competitive people I have met on the court. We ended up tied the first day and quit “before there would only be one of us leaving. Bob was also Godfather to my youngest son who was born during my tour in Washington.
I have never met a finer, more principled, and accomplished naval officer.
And, as a final word, we have from the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Vern Clark, at the start of his address to the NSL Symposium in June of 2001 :
“I have some credentials and connections with the Submarine Force even though I’m a Surface Warfare Officer. I had just left an assignment working for a person named Bob Long. He was the Vice Chief and I was the Assistant Executive Assistant. He was a man of tremendous wisdom and great character and integrity.
I left working for him and we to (command) USS McCLOY, and it turns out he helped me with a follow-on connection in the Mediterranean. COMSUBMED was a man named Bobbie Bell and I had the SUR-15. I felt that instead of chasing carriers, I could do a lot better working with them. . . .I did end up working for him and it was truly one of the richest experiences of my life.”
A THANK YOU TO THE LEAGUE
August 23, 2002
Dolphin Scholarship Foundation would like to express our appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the 2002 Naval Submarine League Symposium held June 12-13. This event provided us a forum to share information about our foundation and our scholars with NSL’s many supporters.
Again we thank you for the invitation to attend the symposium and look forward to continuing our relationship with the Naval Submarine League.
Dolphin Scholarship Foundation