William L. “Bill” Long, Sr., was born on August 24th, 1929 in Obion County, Tennessee to William Wright Long and Mary Cordelia Long. From a big family, Mr. Long was the second child of eight siblings. In 1951, he enlisted in the Marines at the age of 21, shortly after marrying Alma Sue, because he wanted to serve his country during the war with Korea. Mr. Long was assigned to Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina where he became an aircraft mechanic. He was eventually promoted to Staff Sergeant. He remained in active duty until his discharge in 1953, at which point he returned back to the Memphis area and continued to serve in the Reserves. While in service, Mr. Long was chosen to lead his unit to be represented at the National Air Show in Dayton, Ohio in 1953. He was given this opportunity because of the hard work he displayed and his dedication to excellence in aircraft maintenance and preparation. He formed many close friendships during his service and stayed in contact with a few fellow troops for years after his service.
Shortly after returning to the Memphis area, Mr. Long began his employment with the American Bridge and Iron Company in 1953. He later found work at the then-new E.I. Dupont plant just outside of Memphis in late 1955. During his time there, he was tragically injured in an industrial accident which caused him to lose his eyesight and resulted in him leaving the Reserves. Despite this, Mr. Long went on to recover over a two-year period and later returned to work at Dupont to become an Instrument Mechanic. He remained in this position for more than 35 years before retiring in 1993. Mr. Long and his wife also had three sons throughout the course of their marriage: Bill Jr., Byron, and David. He became involved in many activities after his time in the service, including serving as a deacon at Second Baptist Millington and Lucy Baptist Church as well as restoring old automobiles. He retained the strong work ethic instilled in him from the Marines and did not allow his blindness to deter him. Throughout his life, Mr. Long insisted on keeping his role of maintaining the house by keeping a vegetable garden, mowing the lawn, and repairing all of the mechanical malfunctions that arose.
Mr. Long passed away on November 13, 2018, leaving behind two sons, one of which being Byron who nominated his late father for this Veteran of the Week. Mr. Long also had many grandchildren which he was incredibly proud of. He certainly left an impression on everyone he met and was a one of a kind individual.
Thank you for your service and what you did for our country, Mr. Long!