One Year

It’s been one year.

ORPO1 shot me a message warning that an F-21 was down. I immediately said the infantry prayer:

“Oh, shit.”

Alas, it was true. Carroll “Lex” LeFon, Captain, US Navy, Retired, had been killed providing adversary services to his beloved TOPGUN at Naval Air Station Fallon.  The next morning, I wrote this post.

The loss of any man is a tragedy to someone. His family and friends, of course. And God knows, Lex’s family has felt pain and loss.

But Carroll LeFon had started a little blog a while back. Just a few sea stories, and tales of the naval service. And that little blog grew.  More and more sea stories, to be sure. And occasionally, a glimpse into his life. We followed as he was promoted from Commander to Captain, as his son graduated from college, was commissioned in the Navy, and earned his own Wings of Gold.

We followed Lex into retirement, and from thence into the cube farm. We watched him yearn to fly again, and seek solace by signing up with a local flying club, relearning the art of light planes, after a career in heavy metal.

Eventually, the opportunity arose to fly the F-21 Kfir to support the Navy, via a private contractor. Oh, the joy we shared with him! A pretty plane, an important mission, and few aviators better suited to it.

And we were with him every step of the way, loyal readers of his blog. Most of us visited Neptunus Lex daily before even checking our email, and checked in again at days end, in case something interesting had been posted. And unlike virtually every other blog out there, the comment section could be spirited, and yet still civil.

In the days after his death, hundreds of blogs and websites made note of his passing.  I’d  run out of pixels trying to list them all. Suffice to say, the Secretary of the Navy does not note the passing of most retired Captains.

The insight into the Navy, Naval Aviation, and America’s warriors that Lex gave so many Americans was a service that the Navy’s PR shop has tried, at great expense, to do, and yet never done as well as a simple blogger.  His service to his Navy and nation in blogging was great.

I feel an emptiness every day with him gone. He’s still at the top of my bookmarks.  And I know that I wrote better after reading him. His writing, when he first started blogging, was good. But as time went on, it became better and better. After a few years, his prose, his pacing, his vocabulary, and his singular ability to draw a complete mental picture for the reader were unsurpassed anywhere on the internet.  Only a man of great compassion and empathy could write that well.

I’ve several “favorite” Lex posts. Some funny, others tragic.Almost all insightful.

But my personal favorite is this one.

Tonight, I’ll be sipping a Guinness, For Strength! and a Jameson, For Courage.

God Bless you, Lex.