In Memory of CAPT Carroll “Lex” LeFon, and the Wonderful Community He Fostered

Welcome. The idea was floated that a ‘talk amongst yourselves’ blog would be a good addition to for the Non-Facebook Crowd. Here it is.

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You know you are getting older when…..

(my nomination follows)

You get among your junk mail a letter from a cemetery offering you:

1. Save 50%!

2. Perpetual Care Included

3. 0% APR

4. Just 5% Down

5. Completely own your space in just 12 months!

Offer Expires September 12, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

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F4D vs F8U

Sent by my Air Force friend – this  had to have been in the late 50s-early 60s.

 

Douglas_F4D-1_Skyray_in_flight_c1957

 

Lived at Roosey Roads when I was 15. my dad was stationed there with VW-4.Every year the base would host “Operation Spring Board”. an all out Marine Air/Ground exercise. The Grunts would attack Vieques Island by amphibious assault and the supporting air would operate out of Roosey. They brought a lot of “color” to our little island paradise.

One year we had an F4D squadron and F-8 squadron down. As such things happened in those days. There was a lot of back and forth between the squadrons as to the virtues of the particular aircraft each squadron flew.

Finally, the F4D squadron Commander threw down the gauntlet. and said in front of God and everybody at the O’Club. Our bird may be long in tooth. but we can beat your ass to 20,000 feet. any day of the week!

Naturally, the challenge was immediately accepted by the Crusader C.O. Well, word got around about the challenge and it morphed into a bet and a big deal on the base. A Sunday morning was set aside for the big event and  if I recall, the stakes were a case of Corona to be provided by each officer from the losing squadron. to the troops of the winning squadron.. I think the Staff NCO’s had to pitch in too?

As things built up. it wasn’t just a big deal. It became a Big F’ing Deal! I’m sure each squadron had their whiz wheels turning and slide rules burning. trying to figure out the best L over D equations. fuel load  attitude… and angle of the dangle… to get max performance out of each machine.

The big day finally arrived. Most of us locals went to the top of the mountain where the Armed Forces radio station was located; that allowed us to look down on the runway and scene below. Both sides of the runway where the starting line was located, was lined with Marines from the two squadrons. One Ford and one ‘Sader were towed to the end of the runway and lined up side by side. Each had its’ own start cart. Then another Crusader and Ford taxied by and launched. pretty impressive, but nothing like what was to come.

The reason they launched was to provide visual, on scene confirmation of who beat who to 20K; in case it was close. Guess they didn’t trust each other. Once the two referees were in orbit and on station. word was passed to start engines. From there, everything happened pretty quickly.

A designated “Starter” walked between the two airplanes with a big orange and white checkered flag off the “Follow Me” truck. He goes out in front of them. twirls the flag a couple of times to let the planes turn up the RPM’s and then drops to his knee and stabs the flag to the ground in a classic launch signal. Then…How’d that old song go?… “The Heat is on”!

Instantly, both airplanes shot forward and a second or two later we could hear the retort of the two “Hard Light” burners going off. as we witnessed the flames from the burners in the morning sun. From there it was a tale of two totally different tactics. It seemed as soon as the Ford had flying speed. it just levitated almost 60-70 degrees nose up.. The Crusader accelerated in a low transition to build up speed before rotating,  then pulling almost into the vertical!

Gents. It wasn’t even close. by the time the Crusader rotated, the little Skyray was already passing 10K on its way to 20! Never seen anything like it before or since. It was like watching a rocket launch! While the Crusader was accelerating horizontally. the little Ford seemed to be doing the same thing vertically! The whole thing was over in less than a couple of minutes.

As soon as the Ford hit 20K and radioed his altitude. BIG CHEER GOES UP AND I WATCHED THE BURNER FLAMES GO OUT AND THE BAT WING BEAUTY ROLLED ONTO IT’S BACK AND STARTED DOWN HILL IN A MODIFIED SPLIT S. He was back on the ground almost as fast as he took off! He was followed by the Crusader a couple of minutes or so later. It was a hoot!

Everybody was yucking and clapping. cheering the good show. I was looking down as the F4D taxied back to his flight line and shut down. and then I noticed, the F-8 had gotten about half way back to his line and was stopped.

They had to tow him in. the rumor later, was they’d cut the fuel so close, he’d flamed out taxiing back to the line. Anyway. the Marines had a big day.

The losers paid up and the winners gracefully shared their bounty. The rest of us had a great start to our day. and a memory to last forever.

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Some Nice Plane Pr0n

Who knew they did airshows at NIGHT!?!

(Cross-posted from EIP)

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The Rooskies

“Goldie, how many times have I told you guys that I don’t want no horsin’ around on the airplane?” The words came from B-52 Aircraft Commander Major Kong in the dark movie Dr. Strangelove in response to being apprised by Lt. Goldie, his radio operator, that Wing Attack Plan R for Romeo was in effect. Nuclear war with the Rooskies.

Slim Pickens (Major Kong) and his crew get ready to go toe to toe with nukes. And before they can be recalled the CRM 114 radio that should receive the message calling off the attack destroys itself, and Major Kong’s crew becomes the opening act to World War III.

I don’t propose at all that I am an expert on the CRM 114, in fact it doesn’t exist. It was made up for the movie, although we all know there has to be some device or devices like it out there. Continue reading

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RIP Robin Williams

 

I have always felt that among performers, one of the toughest job is being a comic.  And Williams was one of the best.

Not surprisingly, I read some time ago that among comics he liked friend and mentor  Jonathan Winters.

What really gave me a respect for his craft was learning that much of his dialogue in Good Morning Vietnam wasn’t scripted – his creative mind was making it up as the scenes went along.

I hope he knew how much he could bring laughter in people.

The world needs more of it. Not less.

We’ll miss you Robin.

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Tip of the Hat to Buck Pennington

On our return to Casa De Sharon y Glenn, we stopped by the Vineyard on MCB Camp Pendleton. Among other things, I procured a couple of See Gars.
The Guinness was purchased shortly after leaving the gathering at Shakespeare’s.
The Missus said to maintain the same thing.
Buck Pennington gave me the idea to have a cigar, so I did.

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Tonight I enjoyed both on the Verandah at Casa de Sharon y Glenn in California City.

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A Gathering of Some Of Us

ORPO1:

Some of Us gathered at Shakespeare’s. It was good.

Originally posted on Among The Joshua Trees:

The occasion was the send off of our esteemed David Harvey and His Missus and Family for a new chapter in Dallas, Texas.

Present were the following Lexicans:

Beth Lieras, Dwight Cardwell, Your Humble Author and his Bride and the most wonderful Mary Lefon.

Excellent Food and Excellent Drink.

Dwight made sure I had the Mud in The Blogfather’s USNA Mug. It was an initiation of sorts.

Yes! It was an excellent evening, indeed!

Lex MugShakespeare' with excellent companyLex Mug 2DSC_0005DSC_0004DSC_0003DSC_0002DSC_0001

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