A Carroll “Lex” LeFon Primer

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Who was Carroll LeFon?

The best description of Lex that I’ve heard is “Imagine Hemingway flew fighters…and liked people.

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Rhythms the Compendium

Welcome to the “Rhythms” home page, a blogvel of sorts in several parts. The author’s attempt was to reveal elements of life aboard an aircraft carrier on the line. He had no idea it would take so long, and leave so very much untold.

Carroll F. “Lex” LeFon

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Index – The Best of Neptunus Lex

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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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Where were you 58 years ago today?

November 22, 1963

I was in the 7th grade, in between classes. A group of students was around a teacher, and the teacher said “Yes, he’s dead”. Walking down the hall in between classes, I had heard what I thought were rumors from other students in the hallway until the teacher confirmed it.

My mother was going into a Bank of America branch and saw everyone sobbing.

What a week that was for America.

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The Wright Brothers

Like Joe Rosenthal’s iconic photo of Iwo Jima, this first flight was immortalized almost by accident .

I just finished David McCullough’s wonderful book on the Wright Brothers. He did some thorough research, including many notes by them on the study of bird flight, and letters.

One theme remained with me throughout the book.

Perseverance.

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The Coarsening of Society

I enjoy using my WordPress app on my iPhone through the day. It tells me what’s going on with this website. Some days it’s pretty quiet, other days interesting. A few days ago, Lex’s tale of Piddle Packs was read 100s of times around the world. It was fun to watch. At my first check, 200 people had read it. By the end of the day, 400 had read it. This went on for the next few days, in smaller numbers each succeeding day. Someone had probably referenced it on a blog and people read it – with many passing the link on to who-knows-where to others via email. In my mind, I imagined readers from around the world laughing or at least smiling. I’d like to think that Lex was smiling, too.

He’s had some that have over a few days built into the 1000s, but who’s counting? Some funny, some thought provoking.

He continues to touch people around the world, even 9 years later.

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On this date in history…

November 8, 1950

During the Korean War the very first- ever jet vs. jet aerial dogfight took place. U.S. Air Force pilot Lt. Russell J. Brown was flying a Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star and successfully shot down two North Korean MiG-15s, which were possibly piloted by Russians. The MiG-15 was the fastest, most maneuverable fighter jet of its day, and generally dominated the skies it flew. Taking down two in a dogfight was a tremendous opening salvo.

H/T to my Air Force friend who sent this…

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A Post From Lex Twice As Critical Today

What kind of people, in the name of political short-term gain, would give a wreckage of a country to those who follow us?

Time is running out to the point of no return.

If there is a lesson in all of this it is that our Constitution is neither a self-actuating nor a self-correcting document. It requires the constant attention and devotion of all citizens. There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.” 

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It’s not all about top speed

Or thrust-to-weight ratio.

Got an interesting link today from my Internet friend of many years, a retired Air Force test pilot.

Just as we had a top secret program for many years involving captured Soviet fighters, the Soviets had a few of ours.

And the conclusions of one of the Russians top test pilots at the time, in evaluating “The Foreigner” (an F-5 that came from Vietnam after we left) vs a MiG 21, were objective, at times, funny (didn’t know that Russian fighters did not use brakes integrated with the rudder pedals), and, most of all, surprising.

In simulated dogfights, the F-5 won every time.

Lex would have loved to have read this article. He had some flight time of his own in an F-5E, with some amusing stories.

The conclusion of the Soviet experts in confronting a Tiger after their tests?

Our “experts” suggested not to engage in a close dogfight, but to use the “hit-and-run” tactics instead.

More here.

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Part LIV Epilogue

The ship’s Captain stood by his chair on the bridge in his Service Dress Blues, his binoculars fixed on the channel marker just outside the carrier turning basin at Naval Station North Island, California. He briefly suppressed, and then just as briefly gave in to the temptation to sweep the pier with the binos, looking for his wife and children. Seven months. It had been such a very long seven months. There were thousands of people thronging on the pier, waving flags and signs – “Welcome Home, Son!” and “We Missed You Mommy!”

The civilian harbor pilot stood just to his right, in amiable but meaningless conversation with the Officer of the Deck – this was an experienced crew, and the pilot’s main purpose was to control the three tugboats that brought the great warship alongside the pier after it had made its final turn, gliding in.

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Part LIII The End

The JG looked forward in the ready room to see his squadron CO and XO break from a closely whispered conference – his CO looked him in they eye even as the JG tried to answer the questions of his brother JO’s. The old man pursed his lips, narrowed his eyes, raised his chin pugnaciously – and then nodded, almost imperceptibly. Nodded at him. Well done.

Turning his smiling face back to his brothers, it was all the young man could do not to weep.

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Part LII Shutting Down

“Roger ball, Hornet, you’re just a little underpowered now. A little power, back to the right,” the voice of the LSO, smooth, caressing, careless. Another day at sea, for all his voice might give it away, but how did I get low? The power coming up and catch it, catch it on line-up – don’t chase it. Almost there, don’t lead it – Now, a little power back off, half of it back on again to catch it, rate of descent is looking good. Looking good, but wait, drifting a little “a little right for lineup,” said the LSO, the JG responded, silently cursing, I saw it, I was just about to “a little power” the LSO again, throttles up but not too far, for God’s sake don’t bolter. “Easy with it,” the LSO said and a part of him wanted to cry that there was nothing easy about it, but he stuffed it aside and he was almost there, crossing the ramp, one more correction, a little power off – no: ON and a little left wing down and WHAM! On deck! On deck, by God! And the joy in his heart, the engines screaming at military power as the wire ran out, went taut, held hard, the jet bucking like a trapped beast in a snare and there was the Air Boss on the radio, saying something, something to him, repeating it again, again with emphasis and finally the words making sense, “Lights on deck 311, lights on deck. We’ve got you, throttle back. We’ve got you.”

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Part LI The final approach

“That’s right, 104. He’s trick or treat, the hard way. He doesn’t know it yet, but he has to land here – we’re out of options. We’ll give him one look at the wires, then rig the barricade if we have to. If that doesn’t work we’ll eject him alongside, fish him out with a SAR helo. You worry about you, and that fouled store.”

“104, roger.”

“Oh, and 104?” the Captain added, “He doesn’t need to know about this.”

“Copy that, sir.”

No, thought the JG. He certainly doesn’t.

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