A Tribute: Chapter 78 Celebrates and Honors the Life of

SGM (ret.) Bruce Long

Bruce Long plane jump
Bruce as SGM for A Co.
Bruce Long family at 2021 Christmas party

On October 14, 2022, Chapter 78 members, along with family and other friends, said goodbye to SGM (ret.) Bruce Dale Long, former three-term Chapter President. Bruce passed away on September 14, at the age of 80, surrounded by family and friends. He had fought a courageous battle with cancer over the past couple of years, offering an example of how one could face life’s challenges with a smile and determination.

Bruce’s member profile from the Chapter 78 website tells his story:

“It all began in 1961 when Bruce joined the Army and jumped out of airplanes at Fort Bragg, NC. in 1962. SGM Long served thirty years in the United States Army, both active duty, Reserves and National Guard. SGM Long’s active duty assignments include 82nd Airborne division, 173rd Airborne Brigade (LRRP) later to become N Co, 75th Rangers, 46 Co Special Forces Thailand and the United States Civil Affairs Command at Ft Bragg, N.C. during Desert Storm. SGM Long’s foreign deployments include Thailand, Korea, Panama, Canada and Okinawa. While serving in the Special Forces Reserves and National Guard his duties included Team Sergeant, Battalion Support First Sergeant, Battalion Operations SGM, Company SGM, and Battalion SGM.”

Bruce goes on to list the military schools he attended: 82nd Airborne Raider course, MACV Recondo School, Special Forces ‘Q’ Course, Operations & Intelligence Course, and the First Sergeant’s Academy.

After his honorable discharge in 1969, he joined the Westminster Police Department, where he went on to become a Detective and a member of their SWAT team. During this nearly 10-year period of his life, he completed his Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Criminal Justice at California State University Fullerton and his Master of Arts at Pepperdine University. He also attended the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, VA.

In 1977, he joined the US Army Reserve, serving with the 12th and the 19th Special Forces. He retired in 2001 as a Sergeant Major, with 32 years of dedicated service to the US Army and Special Forces.

Not long after, SGM Bruce Long joined the Special Forces Association. He served as Chapter 12’s President from 2006 to 2008. He joined Special Forces Chapter 78 in 2012, eventually serving as Chapter President for two terms.

From the start, he was an active, engaged member of Chapter 78. He became involved in the Chapters efforts to support the Green Beret Foundation, helping to organize and participating in multiple fundraising activities. For example, when the chapter decided to join the major Sporting Arms demonstrations at Raahauge’s Shooting Range in Ontario, CA, Bruce manned the Chapter’s booth, discussing Special Forces history and our goals with members of the community who participated in the weekends activities.

In his first term as Chapter President, inspired by his tenure as SGM in the local Reserve and National Guard SF units, he was instrumental in the establishment of Chapter 78’s relationship with Company C (formerly Company A), 19th Special Forces Group, Airborne.

On the morning of Bruce’s funeral, there were so many in attendance that the procession to the site of his memorial service was at least a half mile long. Even his wife, Geri, was astonished to see so many cars. But, in retrospect, it was not surprising. Bruce’s generosity and kindness touched many lives.

Returning to Bruce’s profile on the Chapter website, he closed his entry with two of his favorite quotes:

Chapter 78 members with Bruce’s widow, Geri Long.

SFA Chapter 78 members remember Bruce:

“…we have a very tight bond with A-5-19, that does not come by chance. Bruce and I, and a guy named Alex Larson, and Kris Boodaghian, who is well known, started the SFRE over at 19th group. We decided basically to help them out…And Bruce basically always had this continuing passion to stay connected to SF…Bruce was an extraordinary guy, and he really took care of his guys, he always sacrificed himself for his troops. And I’m a reflection of that as well too.” Len Fein

“So I knew Bruce for 42 years. He was my team sergeant for, I think, uh, five years when I was with C company, and a very fine leader, he taught me a lot…and he will be sorely missed.” Al Roth

Team brothers, left to right, Len Fein and Albert Roth

“…what Bruce did [for Chapter 78] by becoming the president was to put it together, to hold it together, and make good things happen…I just think that this Chapter owes him a whole lot for being what it is today…” — Richard Simonian

Bruce and Richard Simonian pose in front of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) at the SFA Chapter 78 2021 Christmas party.

“I had a great time with Bruce…when we started doing the Shooter’s Cup events, I really didn’t know Bruce. He was just another guy. He was so humble…we kind of helped with the organization of the shooting event… And as far as I knew, he was just another grunt…I find out he’s a Sergeant Major! So his humility, went a long ways… but no, I’ll never forget him.” — Mike Keele

(Left to right, Mike Keele, Lee Martin, Bruce Long and Rob Pugh, OC Fairgrounds job fair on Veterans Day, 2015)

“…with the loss of Bruce…this chapter lost one of the three members of the Chapter that were LRRPs in Vietnam and also the Recondo school…Mark [Miller] and I both felt a special brotherhood with Bruce because we went through this…Bruce…with Mark and some other people, were very active trying to get the Army to pay a little bit more respect to the Ranger Regiment and how it started…without SF there would have been no Ranger Regiment right now… Bruce was a piece of history and I really miss him. I think all of us do.” — Kenn Miller

At left, Kenn Miller with Bruce and Mark Miller, at far right