Saturday, June 18, 2005

Army Cpl. William A. Long

Remember Our Heroes

Army Cpl. William A. Long, 26, of Lilburn, Ga.

Cpl. Long was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.; died June 18, 2005 in Baqubah, Iraq, of injuries sustained on June 17 when he was on mounted patrol and his Humvee was attacked by enemy forces using rocket-propelled grenades in Buritz, Iraq. Also killed was 1st Lt. Noah Harris. -- Corporal William Long died in Iraq Friday when a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee.

Long belonged to the 3rd Infantry Division and made his home in Georgia, although he spent time in Knoxville growing up. Corporal Long's mother still lives here and requested privacy during this difficult time.

Long will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday. At one time, he was a member of the Honor Guard at Arlington, presiding over more than 700 burials there.

But in a gesture that tells you a lot about the man, Long freely gave up that position to help the Iraqi people.

"On one hand as a father you don't want your son to get hurt," said Cpl. Long's Step Father Lee Cordner. "On the other hand you're proud he's taking initiative. If it wasn't for people like him we wouldn't be who we are."

Cordner found out about his step son's death Saturday, and says he went blank when hearing the words from military personnel who visited his Georgia home.

"I'm very proud of my son, and he's a hero," said Cordner. "Not many people have chance to be hero. It's just too bad you have to be a hero at 26 and not 70."

Cordner's home is now a memorial, with his step son's military honors all across the house. It is a tribute to a man who knew about the sacrifices of combat but willingly went into the military to help his country.

"I'm just so proud of him, and wish I could have spent more time with him," said Cordner.

Army Cpl. William A. Long was killed in action on 6/18/05.

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