Mon Valley Biographies - W. Rea Furlong

Mon Valley Biographies

W. Rea Furlong of Allen Twp (Roscoe)

From: Borough of Roscoe Bicentennial Booklet.  Roscoe Notables.

Submitted by:  Mike Donaldson

 Surnames:  Furlong, Grant, Acheson,

W. Rea Furlong
Rear Admiral - United States Navy
1881 - 1976

Rear Admiral Furlong was the son of William Allen Furlong and Ethel Grant Furlong. He was born in
Allenport  (then known as Allen Township) on January 26, 1881.

His paternal grandfather was a coal operator who used his own tow boats to ship coal to Pittsburgh and New Orleans.  His maternal grandfather was the son of Captain George Grant who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  George Grant and the grandfather of Ulysses S. Grant were brothers. Rear. Admiral Furlong’s father was a steamboat captain.  It would seem that based on his ancestors, Rear Admiral Furlong was destined to a life directed to both the sea and the military. In these two areas he would achieve success.
He graduated in 1896 from the Roscoe Public School and earned his teaching degree at the age of eighteen from the Normal School in California,  Pennsylvania  (now  California University of PA).

He assumed the position of teacher in the Roscoe and Elco schools for a short time (two years). He
was then recommended to attend the  Naval  Academy  in  Annapolis  by Congressman E.F. Acheson in 1901.  It was President Theodore Roosevelt who handed him his diploma from the Academy. After 36 years of service in the United States Navy, he was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance with the rank of Rear Admiral by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in August 1937.

His naval career took him to South America, the Philippines, China and Japan. During World War I,
he served as gunnery officer on the Battleship South Carolina and the Battleship Nevada. He served on the British Battleship Ramillies that patrolled the North Sea and later he was stationed in London with the British Admiralty.

At World War I's end and prior to signing the peace agreement, Commander Furlong was sent to
Berlin to inspect German plants that manufactured ordnance.

Besides serving on cruisers and battleships (including the largest at the time, Battleship West
Virginia), he was also commander of a division of destroyers. Rear Admiral Furlong served as Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance in Washington, D.C. until his retirement from the United States Navy.

Rear Admiral W. Rea Furlong died on June 2, 1976, at the age of 95. He was interred in Arlington
National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. on June 7, 1976, (Section 2, grave #4856-1).

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