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Pulaski says goodbye to a hero

Pulaski County lost one of its greatest heroes this past Friday, with the death of Julius Woolen Long, Jr.
Long, 65, of Pulaski, was the longest held prisoner of war in the history of Pulaski County. He had entered the U.S. Army in 1967 during the Vietnam War and returned home in 1973, after surviving five years as a POW.
According to Dallas Cox, a friend of Long’s who knew of his experiences as a POW, said Long was captured in 1968. A failed rescue airlift attempt had left him stranded. He took rescue in a dirt and log blockhouse, and killed several of the enemy as they tried to force him out of his shelter.
After he thought the coast was clear, he stepped out and waved down an American jeep that was coming down the road. Unfortunately, a VC squad had captured the jeep and Long fell into their hands before he could escape, Cox said.
Long became ill with malaria and dysentary on the way to the prison camp, his wounds had become infected, and he was in a serious mental decline, Cox said.
He was held in a jungle camp in South Vietnam for the first three years of his captivity, which Cox described as the "worst prisons in the Vietnam War or any war."
The only doctor captured during the war— Dr. Floyd Harod Kushner— was in the same camp as Long, and actually saved Long’s life as he suffered from a heart attack during his imprisonment.
In 1971, Long made the journey to Hanoi, a holding prison. The journey was treacherous, and Long suffered throughout the trip from injuries to his foot.
Long was finally freed on March 16, 1973, along with 590 other POWs during Operation Homecoming, Cox said.
"He came home battered and bruised, both physically and mentally," Cox said. "He measured up to some of the most demanding challenges fostered upon the human race. Certainly no other citizen of Pulaski County has endured such an ordeal."
After his return home, Cox said Long was given a thorough examination and debriefed by the government and sent home.
"The government spent little time in preparing Julius for the necessary readjustment for the changed society that awaited him," Cox said. "He spent the next 30 years putting his life together."
Several years back, before Pulaski Elementary School was built, Cox made the suggestion to the Pulaski County School Board to name the new elementary school Julius W. Long Elementary School.
In a presentation before the school board, Cox said that this name would demonstrate the four cardinal principles of persistence, determination, challenge and success, "forged in the most trying circumstances in human experience, are the ones that we desire every student of Pulaski County to embrace and remember every time they see or hear that name. A better example than Julius Long cannot be found in Pulaski County."
In a speech about Long during a Veteran’s Day ceremony in 2006, Cox was quoted as saying, "when your grandchildren ask what the soldiers from Pulaski County have done, you tell them about Julius Long."
Long is survived by his wife, Janice Mitchell Long of Pulaski, along with many other family members. Funeral services were held earlier today at 11 a.m. in the Bower Funeral Home Chapel. Burial services were held in Hufford Cemetery in Pulaski, where full military honors were to be conducted by Pulaski’s VFW Post 1184.

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Pulaski says goodbye to a hero

Pulaski County lost one of its greatest heroes this past Friday, with the death of Julius Woolen Long, Jr.
Long, 65, of Pulaski, was the longest held prisoner of war in the history of Pulaski County. He had entered the U.S. Army in 1967 during the Vietnam War and returned home in 1973, after surviving five years as a POW.
According to Dallas Cox, a friend of Long’s who knew of his experiences as a POW, said Long was captured in 1968. A failed rescue airlift attempt had left him stranded. He took rescue in a dirt and log blockhouse, and killed several of the enemy as they tried to force him out of his shelter.
After he thought the coast was clear, he stepped out and waved down an American jeep that was coming down the road. Unfortunately, a VC squad had captured the jeep and Long fell into their hands before he could escape, Cox said.
Long became ill with malaria and dysentary on the way to the prison camp, his wounds had become infected, and he was in a serious mental decline, Cox said.
He was held in a jungle camp in South Vietnam for the first three years of his captivity, which Cox described as the "worst prisons in the Vietnam War or any war."
The only doctor captured during the war— Dr. Floyd Harod Kushner— was in the same camp as Long, and actually saved Long’s life as he suffered from a heart attack during his imprisonment.
In 1971, Long made the journey to Hanoi, a holding prison. The journey was treacherous, and Long suffered throughout the trip from injuries to his foot.
Long was finally freed on March 16, 1973, along with 590 other POWs during Operation Homecoming, Cox said.
"He came home battered and bruised, both physically and mentally," Cox said. "He measured up to some of the most demanding challenges fostered upon the human race. Certainly no other citizen of Pulaski County has endured such an ordeal."
After his return home, Cox said Long was given a thorough examination and debriefed by the government and sent home.
"The government spent little time in preparing Julius for the necessary readjustment for the changed society that awaited him," Cox said. "He spent the next 30 years putting his life together."
Several years back, before Pulaski Elementary School was built, Cox made the suggestion to the Pulaski County School Board to name the new elementary school Julius W. Long Elementary School.
In a presentation before the school board, Cox said that this name would demonstrate the four cardinal principles of persistence, determination, challenge and success, "forged in the most trying circumstances in human experience, are the ones that we desire every student of Pulaski County to embrace and remember every time they see or hear that name. A better example than Julius Long cannot be found in Pulaski County."
In a speech about Long during a Veteran’s Day ceremony in 2006, Cox was quoted as saying, "when your grandchildren ask what the soldiers from Pulaski County have done, you tell them about Julius Long."
Long is survived by his wife, Janice Mitchell Long of Pulaski, along with many other family members. Funeral services were held earlier today at 11 a.m. in the Bower Funeral Home Chapel. Burial services were held in Hufford Cemetery in Pulaski, where full military honors were to be conducted by Pulaski’s VFW Post 1184.

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