Remembering Lex – A Somber Anniversary
I still can’t believe it’s already been a year since I posted about the passing of Carroll “Lex” LeFon, Capt. USN. Ret.
I went back and re-read what I’d posted then and decided to re-post it today:
Neptunus Lex – Husband, Father, Aviator, Warrior, Poet and Blogger – You will be missed.
I heard that there was a horrible possibility last night. I found out this morning that it wasn’t just a possibility anymore. It was a fact. A wife had lost her husband. Daughters and a son had lost their father. A nation had lost a patriot, warrior, and leader. I had lost a friend and inspiration. The world had lost a good man.
Lex had taken a fire breathing Israeli made K-21 Kfir up into the sky yesterday as a civilian contract pilot helping to train aviators for the United States Navy’s Fighter Weapons School. He never made it home.
Captain Carrol Lefon USN (retired) was better known as Neptunus Lex to those who read blogs. Lex was everything I said in the first paragraph of this post and so much more. If I were to think of words to describe him, quite a few come to mind. Professional, excellent, humorous, loving, wickedly intelligent… I wish I could be half the man he was. Truth be told, I’d settle for being half the writer he was. I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet that there will never be another post from a master of language and wit to take my mind off all that’s clouding it on any given day. Like so many others, I never had the opportunity to meet him in person. We exchanged emails from time to time and each one came across like I was corresponding with an old friend. I devoured his writing on a daily basis and again it felt like I was reading something from someone I actually knew rather than someone who just posted on a blog. The comments on the memorial post on his blog tell the story of who Lex was much better than any words I can conjure tonight.
So many things have swirled around in my mind since I heard the confirmation of Lex’s passing this morning and I just can’t seem to put any of it into words in a way that would do justice to his memory. So instead of trying to do that, I’ll try to at least put it into words the best way I can and keep it short.
To Lex – Thank you for your service and for the kindness you’ve shown me over the years. You were an inspiration to me and one of the reasons I kept up blogging over the years. I doubt you realized the way that link on your blogroll boosted my morale and the pride I felt when I saw it up there. You’ve been an example of diplomacy, decorum, professionalism, leadership, and what people mean when they say that someone is a good man. You were an example of The Right Stuff. While I’m incredibly sad for having lost you, I’m even more glad for having had the opportunity to know you through your writings. We’ll be sure to raise a few toasts with some good Gunness (for strength!) in your memory.
To the Lefon family – I extend my deepest condolences and wish there was something more I could do for you. I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers. I’ve said my thanks to Lex, but you also deserve thanks as well for being understanding and kind enough to share him with us along with sharing yourselves through him and his writing.
To everyone else – Please take some time to go through the archives of Capt. Lefon’s blog. You’re sure to find wit and laughter, but you’ll also find a tremendous amount of wisdom about an astounding array of topics. One of my favorite literary works penned by the good Captain was titled Rhythms. It is well worth your time.
Godspeed and blue skies, Lex. You will be greatly missed.
I re-posted that because it’s all still true, but it’s not all I wanted to say tonight.
Last year I was coming to grips with the fact that I was expecting a daughter and that I was going to leave Las Vegas for central Utah. I’d wanted to ask Lex for his advice, but was waiting for the right time when he wasn’t out flying with ATAC or doing dogfighting in Vargas. Sadly, the right time never came. I truly would have loved to have sat down with him to chat about daughters (and the raising thereof), motorcycles (maintenance and tips for preventing collisions with vehicles or high speed integration of skin and pavement), airplanes (I can’t think of how that discussion would ever end), daughters (and the instruction in operation of motor vehicles by same), guns (preferences, regulations, operation thereof), cars (I wonder what he thought of Corvettes), politics (he was reasonable enough to carry on a discussion even if we disagreed on a subject), and so much more.
I often think about Lex and his family. Be it at work, out riding my motorcycle, or playing with my daughter. Something will remind me of something he wrote and a chain reaction will go from there leading back through multiple posts. For example, I had a situation at work the other day where I had to politely decline to do something another co-worker asked me to do. It was in no way ill intentioned, but it involved money and someone else’s login on a computer which made me really rather uncomfortable. I was reminded of what Lex said about The power of saying “no” during a mission and how it applies to the rest of life.
I’d like to extend my heartfelt sympathies to Lex’s entire family, friends, colleagues, and fans. Better examples of how to live are exceedingly rare and difficult to come by while worse examples are as common as grains of sand on the beaches of San Diego. While I wish I could be in Sandy Eggo for the get together, circumstances won’t allow it again so I’ll hoist a Guinness (for Strength!) in Lex’s honor tonight.
Lex, you are cleared for unrestricted climb, follow heading 270.