To Lex!

Lex’s employer, ATAC, has really gone above and beyond what could be expected, for both Lex and the family now left behind.  Just one in the multitude ways that above-and-beyond was expressed was in ATAC’s creation of a 100 memorial challenge coins, a couple of which–gifted from Lex’s wife herself–graced the hands of a few military bloggers and readers by the time the reception was over.  One side of the coin displays the ATAC name and logo.  The other appears below.

Lex’s very civilian neighbor of 10 years was in awe, telling us that his coin would now be used as a placemarker on golf outings, since when he and Lex went golfing the day would end with drinks. “I would turn around and there would always suddenly be two drinks in front of me,” he recalled with tears welling in his eyes, “a Guinness and a shot of Jameson. That’s what Lex always said, ‘Guinness for strength, Jameson for courage.’”

To Lex!

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25 Comments

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25 responses to “To Lex!

  1. I wish more of the challenge coins were available – maybe for purchase, and the proceeds going to the scholarship fund?

  2. Jason

    Agreed. @ Todd. I’m going to contact ATAC to see about this.

  3. I’d be down for that !

  4. colocomment

    Those are awesome — great idea. Lemmee know where to sign up for one!
    BTW, there are >300 members of the Lex FB group and >1600 comments on Whisper’s post on Neptunus Lex (even if only half or a third of those comments are unique visits, that’s still a whole load of folks who I’d bet would stand in line for one of those coins).

  5. Mike Folks

    I’d be very happy to own one myself!

  6. homefrontsix

    That’s the thing that really gets me…if our grief is as big as it is, imagine the grief of those that truly knew him as part of their daily lives…breaks my heart all over again.

    • Hogday

      Can I leave a few words to ponder, by William Wordsworth. `The Boy` referred to was his 6yr old son who had died. I like to think of this when I feel like you do.

      “I loved the Boy with the utmost love of which my soul is capable, and he is taken from me – yet in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it”.

      They’re just words, I know.

    • PC

      I knew Lex. I was there that day. And I have a coin. I am proud to have known him, and proud to be ATAC. Let’s hoist a Guinness for strength and a Jameson for courage.

  7. “Challenge” coins used to be “earned” as a way for commanders to quickly recognize good performance without the involvement of the military bureaucracy. The boss wants to give a quick “attaboy?” Toss out a coin.

    Sadly, they’ve been somewhat devalued in recent years, as senior leadership seems to hand them out at PR events just for showing up, and lots of civilians get them (again, from senior leadership) just to feel good.

    If The Hobbit has a limited number, let her bestow them as she sees fit, recognizing the friendship or support of those closest to her and her family.

    I’d love one.

    I haven’t earned one.

    • You can’t really see it in the picture, but that’s coin #33/100.

    • fuzz1

      Thanks, xbradtc. I didn’t know quite what to say but you explained it perfectly.

    • Agreed. Will withdrawal request. Apologizes.

    • homefrontsix

      I saw the one that Pogue was given and my inner green monster reared its head but I squashed it and I agree with the above – those coins are incredibly special and I think it’s best if more are not made.

      Different ones? Definitely. But not those.

      I’d love one too but I’ve not earned one.

    • I never saw a challenge coin during my active duty days (84-93), I think they became really popular after then – but I understand what you are saying as far as ‘earning’ a coin.
      Perhaps a solution would be a different version (even if just unnumbered) for those outside of the immediate family and friends of the family.

      Either way, you are absolutely correct – this should be Mrs. LeFon’s call.

    • Todd, they were big in the Army back in the 80s. Don’t know when the Navy got into them.

  8. I gave Mary a message from Bill “Pinch” Paisley and she handed me that coin.
    When I was leaving, she handed me #74/100 for a young man who served under Lex’s command in VFA-94. I now work with this young man at Edwards AFB. He was unable to attend.
    Our world is small………….smaller than many would even realize………….

  9. krisinnewengland

    I understand about the challenge coins and part of me agrees with Brad, that they should remain limited in amount with The Hobbit giving them out on her own.
    Yet the other part of me would pay money to get one, so long as the money funded the scholarship fund.
    Either way, this should be a decision that The Hobbit makes. We all loved Lex but he followed her…someone mentioned that recently, I think Hogday or it may have been The Badger. That we would have followed Lex anywhere he lead us yet – he followed The Hobbit. Which gives a person pause at the force of nature she must be.

    • Pat in MN

      “…the scholarship fund…” – is there one? I’ve been waiting for word on how/where to donate to a fund in memory of Lex, but haven’t seen anything posted. Whisper’s “Services” post mentioned that ATAC would be coordinating a fund and it would be announced soon, but if something has been made public I haven’t seen it.

    • Pat – there hasn’t been anything formally announced yet, at least that I’ve heard. I think we all want to donate … when the scholarship is announced and in any way we can.

    • I’ve seen the below for the past couple of days, at the ATAC memorial page for Lex:

      DONATIONS
      Please send donations to:
      LeFon Memorial Fund
      PO Box 3100
      Merrifield, VA 22109
      Note, donations to the fund are non-tax deductible

      …and by the way, I know the odds are 175 million to 1 (or something like that), but if I’d happen to win the Mega-Millions jackpot Friday night, Lex’s Memorial Fund will benefit in a huge way. :)

  10. colocomment

    I understand the significance of the traditional unit coin. I was thinking of the Lex coin in a different sense, that of a tangible memory of his presence in my and all of our lives. A souvenir, if you will. Not a tourist trinket that the word has come to represent, but a “remembrance” of a unique moment or place or person that is the word’s primary meaning. And that, if a related contribution might serve to underwrite a worthy cause, such as a scholarship, then so much the better. I certainly did not mean to cheapen or devalue the meaning of the unit coin, and apologize if anyone took it that way.

    • I know many who wore a very special cap badge. I served with them under conditions that they told me were as scary as any they had encountered `in the mob`, but I could never be a member of the old regiment. You were correct, it is indeed a special thing. I envy their association but I am especially pleased to have been part of the same team, albeit in a different time and under very different RoE’s (funny, but our police firearms team ROE’s were way more flexible than their military ones were, much to their amusement;)
      Hogday

    • fuzz1

      IMHO, I don’t think you need to apologize to anyone. I didn’t see your comments/desire as cheapening or devaluing it, rather as expressions of respect and affection. That is why I was at a loss for how to respond. I suspect anyone else reading your comments felt the same way.

  11. colocomment

    Thanks for the reassurances! I was hopeful that I had not had another of my all-too-frequent experiences of “foot in mouth” disease, as I often tend to speak before self-censoring. (That was one of the primary reasons that I did not make a very good military wife, back in the day!)

  12. wingwifeusmc

    I bet your husband never had a fitness report written that included a comment about you: “Cannot control his wife socially.” My guy used to tell me I could dance naked on the bar at Happy Hour and he would still get to fly. I never did–and never would–but it didn’t matter; one evil CO’s wife had too much power over her husband and wrote the report for him.

    My coin has great meaning to me, though the Marines never used them. Mary’s gift and the hug and our shared grief all rest in bronze by my left hand as I type.

    No apologies necessary. Respect and affection indeed.

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