CYP Benjamin Franklin Long

Unknown Sailor

CYP Benjamin Franklin Long

Benjamin Franklin Long was born Jan. 29, 1904 at Rocky Mount, North Carolina 50 miles east of Raleigh. His father, Richard Long, worked at a market and his mother, Maggie Weaver Long, was a homemaker and later a store employee.

Benjamin enlisted in the Navy on Dec. 29, 1920. He was based for a long time in Guam, where he met his wife, Emilia Portusach. The three oldest of their six children were born in Guam between about 1929 and 1932. By 1935, Mrs. Long and the children moved to San Francisco, while Mr. Long continued his military service.

He was a yeoman and chief petty officer on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Mrs. Long campaigned for war-bond sales after his death, and a photo of her promoting sales was published in newspapers around the country in March 1942.

In 1946, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Rocky Mount changed its name to honor Mr. Long as well as two local men killed in the Spanish-American War and World War I.

His oldest son, also named Benjamin, served in the Navy from June 1951 through June 1955 as a hospital corpsman. Son John was a Catholic priest and Navy chaplain. He cared for Marines wounded in Vietnam and served in Japan and Guam. He was a lieutenant commander when he resigned in 1974.

Editor’s note: The Defense Department lists Mr. Long’s birth date as Dec. 29, 1902. But a cenotaph at Pineview Cemetery in Rocky Mount lists the date as Jan. 29, 1904. His parents are buried there. Also, the tombstone for his brother Richard says he was born Aug. 25, 1902, making it impossible that Benjamin was born four months later.


Sources: the Rocky Mount (North Carolina) Telegram; The News and Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina; The Circleville (Ohio) Herald; the Ukiah (California) Daily Journal; Census; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs death file; Defense Department. Rocky Mount Telegram photograph. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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