Southwest Greensburg WWII hero wanted to be bomber pilot |

Southwest Greensburg WWII hero wanted to be bomber pilot

Joe Napsha
Robert “Archie” Long

Robert “Archie” Long of Southwest Greensburg wanted to be a pilot when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in December 1943. With the United States fighting a war in Europe against the Germans and Italians and a war in the Pacific against the Japanese, the Army certainly needed pilots.

Long got to be a B-17 bomber pilot and flew 33 combat bombing missions over Germany and occupied Belgium and France, as well as in support of the critical Allied invasion of France in June 1944, said his son, Greg Long of Southwest Greensburg.

Long, who died at age 89 in 2011, saw some of the horrors of war as a pilot. A co-pilot was killed on one bombing mission and he saw another pilot killed in a crash, Greg Long said.

For his service to his country, Long was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the European Theater of Operations Ribbon with four Bronze Stars.

He will be among eight other war heroes from Pennsylvania who will be inducted into the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum’s Joseph A. Dugan Jr. Hall of Valor in Oakland on March 31. The Hall of Valor honors veterans who displayed courage and devotion to their comrades and the nation by performing “acts of valor during extraordinary times in the face of the enemy.”

A personalized plaque will be placed in the Hall of Valor that reflects the medal and citation of each inductee and is presented by an honor guard during the ceremony. It will be on display in the Hall of Valor for two years, then available for review through a kiosk.

Greg Long said he had tried to convince his father to agree to being inducted into the Hall of Valor in 2009. But he did want to do it.

“He was pretty closed-mouth about his wartime experience. He never said much about it. He felt (of his time in the Army) ‘That’s history,’ ” Greg Long said.

What he did not give up from his experience in the war was a love of flying, Greg Long said.

“He wanted to join the airlines. That was one of his regrets,” Greg Long said.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.