VALDOSTA, Ga., Aug. 11, 2011 - Nineteen years after separating from the active duty Air Force, Scott Long enlisted into the Reserve. Now he's a staff sergeant, serving with the 476th Maintenance Squadron as a fuel systems craftsman.
"When I decided to re-enlist, I was looking into the future," said the elder Long, 51. "I always regretted getting out, even though it was the right decision at the time."
Before his separation in 1992 after 11 years of service, Long was stationed in numerous countries and states, finally settling down at Moody Air Force Base, Ga.
"What makes Sergeant Long a special case is that he has a 19-year break in service," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Walker, Eastern Recruiting Squadron line recruiter. "He will bring back knowledge and heritage to the newer generation of airmen."
Lieutenant Long was happy to have the chance to preside over his father's re-enlistment ceremony.
"It's a special event, and a rare opportunity to do a re-enlistment ceremony as a young officer, especially for my father," he said. "I'm really happy for him. He has been talking about re-enlisting for a long time, and he is happy to have the chance to serve his country again."
The lieutenant, who is waiting to leave for pilot training, was commissioned in May during a ceremony in which his father pinned on his rank.
"It has been a dream of mine to serve in the military ever since I was young," the lieutenant said. "I really wanted to join the Air Force, but my college only had an Army ROTC program. I got a slot for pilot training in the Army, and I have always wanted to fly, so it didn't matter which service.
"My father's service definitely influenced my decision to join the military," he added. "It's a family legacy. His father was a Marine in World War II, and my other grandfather was in the Navy."
At more than 50 years old and 19 years after leaving active duty, Sergeant Long faced challenges when re-enlisting.
"The biggest challenge in re-enlisting after all this time was making sure I was physically fit," he said. "You also have to make sure you are still medically qualified."
Only a few months after his son's commissioning and 19 years after leaving active duty, Long is glad to be back in uniform.
"I am just proud to have the opportunity to serve my country again," he said, "and contribute more than just my tax dollars."