At about 9:15am yesterday morning, the hazards of Naval Aviation claimed the life of CAPT Carroll F. LeFon, USN (Ret.).
“Lex” was one of the first blogs I bookmarked, sometime back in 2003 or 2004. From his days on active duty, his retirement flying light planes out of San Diego, to his most recent endeavors flying the F-21 Kfir as a contractor supporting US Navy fighter training, he told the tale of flying. His ability with words moved the hearts and souls out thousands of loyal readers.
He loved flying. But more than flying, he loved his family- his wife, The Hobbit, his son, SNO, and his two daughters, The Biscuit and The Kat. He was awed by the sacrifices his family had endured so that he could serve his nation, and deeply troubled that he may somehow have done less than his best as a father.
His abilities as a warrior were impressive. Serving in the fleet as an F/A-18 pilot, and numerous tours in the Adversary community, honing the edge of other pilots in the unforgiving arena of aerial combat. Serving as XO of TOPGUN (one word, all caps!) and commanding an F/A-18 squadron. He loved aviators, he loved his sailors, he loved his Navy.
He loved writing. He was one of the earliest “milbloggers” and unlike so many, he was in it for the long haul. I was always astonished that a man that had so many things going on with work and family and social life should have to time to not merely post, but put up posts of such wonderful quality and thoughtfulness. His craftsmanship with words was legendary. His compendium, Rhythms, a fictional account of a day in the life of a carrier, is superb, and all should read it.
After his retirement from active duty, he felt free to address issues beyond sea stories, and commented on the news of the day, with a wisdom and insight that made most professional pundits pale in comparison. Indeed, as a blogger myself, I was often discouraged. So many times I found something I wanted to address, only to find that Lex had already done so, and done so far better than I could ever hope to.
His words, obvious warmth and compassion, his keen wit and sense of humor made Neptunus Lex a daily must read for thousands of people. Fellow aviators were comfortable, but more remarkably, so were many folks whose only exposure to Naval Aviation and the military world were his words on their computer screen. The comments of all were welcome and treated with respect and dignity not often found today.
I only met him once, but I’ve known him my whole life. I grew up around Naval Aviators, and am the son of one. When we met briefly a couple years ago, the awkward introductory phase lasted about 2 minutes, and then it was as if we’d sat in that bar many times before, and just picked up the conversation where we’d left off.
My prayers go out to him, and to his family. Godspeed, sir.