Hey there everyone!
Before I go any further, I’d like to say thanks again to Lex and his family. Lex was a big reason I got into blogging in the first place and was always one of the blogs I checked a few times a day. I wish I could’ve been at Fort Rosecrans for his memorial in person, but I was there in spirit and I’m thankful others were able to attend.
I try to use my own pictures and videos whenever possible in my blogging. It’s just one of those things if you know what I mean. I wish I had video of the Blue Angels or an operational Hornet squadron performing a Missing Man flyover, but I figured people wouldn’t mind too terribly if I used my footage of the Thunderbirds at Aviation Nation 2007.
Lex, you will certainly be missed!
I also want to thank XBRADTC for setting this place up and for tossing me the keys. I consider it an honor and a privelege to be invited to write here and I’m truly glad to be able to continue to share in the community of Lexians! While I loved reading Lex’s writing, the comments were nearly as much of a reason to keep up with his blog. I don’t know of any other place on the internet which enjoyed such intelligent commentary and which kept that discussion as civil as Neptunus Lex.
I guess I should get around to introducing myself. I go by Parrothead Jeff around most corners of cyberspace and I’ve been blogging since sometime back in 2005. For those who don’t know, a parrothead is a Jimmy Buffett fan and that term most certainly works for me! I was born in San Diego, CA and grew up just north of there in a little town known as Poway.
Poway (and most specifically the house I lived in during my early years) lies under one of the approach corridors for NAS (now MCAS) Miramar. Looking up to see F-5s, A-4s, and many other types of airplanes from home was only one of the reasons I became interested in aviation. My godfather (who was also one of Dad’s partners in the California Highway Patrol) was a pilot in VF-161 who flew Phantoms from the decks of the USS Midway and USS America during the Vietnam war. I’m pretty sure it was a combination of Pete’s sea stories and Dad’s experiences seeing Air Force jets flying over the ranches he grew up on in the Arizona desert in the 1950s that got him interested in flying.
Between the Navy jets flying over my house all the time, Dad’s plastic models hanging from my bedroom ceiling, and going to the Miramar airshow every year from the time I was nine months old, I was hooked from a very early age. TOPGUN (one word, all caps!) was something I knew about long before Tom Cruise and the rest of the bunch on the silver screen brought a Hollywood version of it to the masses. I wanted to be a fighter pilot, but that was not to be for a variety of reasons I’ll save for later.
I moved from San Diego to Las Vegas in late 2004 and while I miss the weather and beaches, I can’t say I’m really all sorry to have left. I’ve been in telecommunications doing technical support since early 2005, but all that’s about to change in the very near future. If you want to know what’s going on with that, there’s a post over at my place that explains it 😉
OK, enough about me – Let’s get to a bit of Plane Pr0n! I wanted to make this post an introduction of myself to all of you, but I also wanted to keep a good portion of it on the subject of remembering Lex through some of the pictures I happen to have in my collection.
I found this picture of an F/A-18 from the Mighty Shrikes of VFA-94 back in a post from Aviation Nation 2010. Looking back over at Lex’s page explaining the title bar logos, I’ve been reminded that he served as both XO and CO of this squadron. I wondered then as I do now if Lex had time in this jet, but now I only wish I could ask him.
This is the same Hornet as in the picture above, but I thought the perspective was funny. With the Hornet seeming to take over every job for every other airplane flying from carriers these days, one could be forgiven for thinking for a split second that they’d put a rotating radome on its back and downlinked the signals back to the ship 😛
Note to the U.S. Navy – This is meant as a humorous observation and is NOT a suggestion!
Another of Lex’s squadrons was VFA-25 – The Fist of the Fleet. This was actually his first squadron in Hornets. According to Lex,
First squadron logo on the right hand side, reading from the left is from VFA-25, “the Fist of the Fleet,” my first fleet fighter squadron. Here is where I discovered that despite being the only male child in my family, I had twelve brothers. I was young there…
This Super Hornet belongs to the Black Knights of VFA-154. It’s not one of Lex’s aircraft or squadrons, but I always wanted to ask him about his opinions on the newest versions of his older jet. I know he flew alongside them so I figured he’d have a decent idea about what’s what with the machine. This one just happened to be parked down at the south end of the static display area at Nellis AFB during Aviation Nation 2011, so I got what I think is a halfway decent picture of it.
Now, Lex always talked about flying F-16Ns, F-5s, and A-4s in TOPGUN so I’m pretty sure he didn’t fly this Hornet or at least not during that time. I just wanted to post a picture of a Hornet on a carrier deck and this is the one I had available 😉 Still, I can easily imagine him climbing into a camouflage jet with a red star on the tail, red numbers on the nose, and U.S. Navy insignia in subdued colors elsewhere 🙂
This picture was taken from the bridge of the USS Midway in San Diego Bay. No, it’s not one of Lex’s carriers and those aren’t his jets, but that could be one of his carriers over across the bay! OK, you got me – I wanted an excuse to post a picture of jets on catapults. Sue me. Wait – Some of you are in California and around all those lawyers! No, don’t sue me!!!
Now, that is one of Lex’s carriers and if memory serves from his written legacy it was also his favorite. This is also one of my favorite pictures from before I left San Diego. I grew up with carriers seemingly always across the bay at North Island and Old Glory always flying proudly in a town that loved the Navy and this brings all that together for me.
If you’re still reading this, thanks for sticking around! I know this post ran a bit long, but there was quite a bit of ground to cover. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it and that you’ll enjoy all the rest to come 🙂