No Whitewash Here

After 40 years in the Navy, Admiral Robert L.J. Long was less than eight months into retirement when the call came from the Secretary of Defense: Would the admiral lead an inquiry into the bombing of U.S. Marine headquarters in Beirut? Whatever his qualms about investigating his peers, Long accepted. A friend explained, "After you've been in the Navy that many years, it is hard to say no."

Born and raised in Kansas City, Annapolis-trained Long, 63, spent part of World War II aboard the battleship Colorado. Entering the submarine service after the war ended, he received his first command at the...

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