RIP- Carroll LeFon “Neptunus Lex”


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.

home-300x214Nep and SNO

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25 Comments

Filed under ARMY TRAINING, navy, planes

25 responses to “RIP- Carroll LeFon “Neptunus Lex”

  1. Beautifully written, Brad.

    I shall miss Lex. I learned so much from his writings.

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  2. Bob Reed

    Captain Carroll “Lex” LeFon was a tailhook brother, father, beloved husband, learned gentleman, and one of the best damn writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of partaking.

    I was stunned to hear the news about the crash at NAS Fallon…

    May God speed him to His side, bless and keep his beloved family, and grace them with all they need in their time of sorrow.

    Fair winds and following seas Lex; we’ll all share a pint together someday in the clearing.

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  3. Fred Zeppelin

    Darn shame – his blog was a daily haunt. You will be missed, Damp Zoomie….

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  4. I didn’t get the news until early this morning. I was about to drop you an email about it, but called away suddenly and just got back.

    Bill Tuttle and I have swapped a few emails about this. I sent him an article that had a pic with the plane in its last position
    Bill recognized the building as being the one in the ammo loading area to the northwest of the longest parallel runway.

    http://www.lahontanvalleynews.com/article/20120306/NEWS/120309948

    GCA may have screwed the pooch on this one. They screwed up several times with the Israeli Lawn Dart because of the much higher approach speed of the Kfir. In this one, they would have had to really screw it up as they would have had him off runway alignment as well, not just above glideslope. Conditions were such that he was not able to recognize it was the taxi way until too late.

    This is speculation on my part. We’ll have to wait until the NTSB publishes its investigation of the accident. Navy will be involved in the investigation since the mishap took place on Fallon, but the Kfir was privately owned by civilians so the FAA and NTSB own the investigation.

    It usually takes about 24-36 months for a final report to be published.

    I went to the Castle to read Day By Day and the headlines. The Armorer’s post piqued my curiosity and when I opened it my blood ran cold. The Whisper’s comment thread didn’t say anything so I had to keep poking around to see what was up. Your comment post is on page 7. We tried a number of times, playing around when Lex was in transit somewhere, to push it to page 4, but never got there. Now we are almost 8. If Lex is able to see it, I’d bet he’s laughing about it.

    My heart goes out to the Hobbit, SNO, Kat and Buscuit. No matter the loss we feel at losing a friend, they have lost the center of their family. May God comfort them at this time of grievous loss.

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  5. Here’s a clip that one commenter posted over at Lex’s place. Quite appropriate.

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    • Man, I held it together until the bagpipes. Excellent song. *sniff*

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    • Me too. Reminds of the Hemingway line “Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”

      Man’s life is fragile and short. Only those things we do for the Lord will last as we can take the results into Eternity. The death of friends reminds us just how fragile life is, and how unexpected its end. My desire is to live a life of honor, one that honor’s God and the Christ he sent into the world to die for us all.

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  6. Pingback: One Of Our Own « AW1 Tim's Blog

  7. Well said, brother. Thanks for writing these fine words. I don’t know what else I can add, except that Lex was a gentleman and a gentle man, and we shall all miss him mightily
    I added a link to your post over to my place. I’ve been trying to post all the tributes and articles with links as I find them. Sals doing the same.
    V/R

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  8. Pingback: Thank You for Everything.

  9. I am sorry for your loss, for the loss for all of us. He was a true gentleman and the best kind of fighter pilot.

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  10. Thanks X
    A fine & worthy tribute to the man. I felt like I knew him and hit his Guinness fund regularly until I lost my job. He had a way of making you feel like part of the family. I often thought I was sitting beside him in his stories.
    Good job X and fair winds to Lex.

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  11. Art,
    Thanks, Lex would appreciate it.
    Damn, I’m going to miss him.
    I feel so bad for the family.

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  12. Could not have said it any better xbradtc. And you are right about his writing style …. he always wrote beautifully.

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  13. Gonna miss him. So sad.

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  14. Well put. He will be missed. . .

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  15. Patrick

    Every day I saw Lex, I would say: “Hey, how’s it going?”
    Every time, his reply was: “Living the dream, Patrick”
    He said that to me hundreds of times. Some people just say stuff like that; he meant it – every time.

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  16. Potosi Joel

    What a sad thing.
    I’ll miss reading Lex, and am sorry that Capt. LeFon has passed.

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  17. John

    Well said.
    Well deserved.
    He will be missed by so many.

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  18. At 2000 EST, 1700 PST, there will be a worldwide toast to the memory of Lex. We’ll even be represented in Afghanistan by Lt. B and Bill Tuttle. Whether it’s Guinness or Coke (Bill has just MRE Coffee) join us.

    We will not see his like again.

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  19. virgil xenophon

    Got over here late XBrad, have been having some family health problems, so haven’t been able to hit all the sites. Very nice summation/short history of the man. I mentioned over at InstaPinch’s place that aside from being a very good stick, officer, and an excellent writer, he was simply one of the very best MEN

    (damn, I see they’ve given me a new avatar–probably because I’m posting from Louisiana viz the west coast–I LIKED the old sprocket-head! I’ll miss him…sigh)

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  20. virgil xenophon

    Guess I was wrong..somehow a diff avatar showed up before I pressed send)

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