Freedom Fighters: Al Long - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Freedom Fighters: Al Long

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By Joan Hallmark - bio | email

MINEOLA, TX (KLTV) - Al Long of Mineola is a writer with five published novels to his credit but he's never written about his war experiences. Long's journey to the biggest naval battle in history began when he joined the U.S. Naval Aviation Cadet Program in 1941. Long first saw combat in the Palau Island Island invasion.

Life flying a torpedo bomber off the U.S.S. Intrepid was no "piece of cake." Long had to ditch his plane in the ocean twice after running out of gas on "suicide missions" and ended up in the water once on a takeoff with a faulty engine. Long received his "Distinguished Flying Cross" for valor in the Battle of the Leyte Gulf, considered the biggest naval battle in history. This defeat of the Japanese Navy hurried the end of World War II.

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