Monthly Archives: November 2013

Eulogy For A Fighter Pilot

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This Was Passed to me a few minutes ago, which was the eulogy Pat Conroy gave to his father, Don, a.k.a. The Great Santini .

Pat wrote the book about his father that became the movie.

As I was reading this there were excerpts that I thought could be applied to Lex. Continue reading

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Learning A Bit About Bletchley Park

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I enjoy history for the fact that it is a road map showing us how we got here from there. Military history and the effect of intelligence gathering are at the top of my list. Think of the battle of Midway and the efforts of Joseph Rochefort & his team decrypting the Japanese military codes.

Of course you can have intelligence that is 100% accurate, but you need military commanders who believe it and act on it – thank Adm Nimitz & Adm Spruance for taking that intelligence and changing the Japanese Navy from an offensive to a defensive posture all at Midway.

Lest I completely lose my focus tonight, I was reading a fascinating article on Bletchley Park in the BBC History Magazine.

Bletchley Park was wartime Britain’s equivalent of the NSA (perhaps minus monitoring Angela Merkel’s conversations to her husband on what to get at the supermarket) and I learned that they did a lot more there than “just” cracking the Enigma, the code generated by that German  machine that was considered by many to be impossible.

The knowledge of this code is said to have cut the war in Europe’s duration by 2 years, according to some.

The biggest surprise for me was learning that Bletchley Park was more than just a place that housed math geniuses like Alan Turing .

It went from a population of 200 in 1938 to over 10,000 in 1944, and became an ‘Intelligence Factory”. It was highly segmented and efficiently organized. One of the funnier stories was learning that until declassification in the 1970s, some spouses found out that the other worked there only when meeting each other at reunions.

More surprising facts?

It was more than a code breaking operation but evolved to becoming an integrated signals intelligence entity.

 Because it was centralized, there was a lot of co-operation and knowledge sharing. (this I read elsewhere was the also main reason for focusing the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos)

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It was the size of the operation that allowed the success of the code breakers.

 

 

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VFP-63 Patches

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I’ve got an extensive collection of patches, mostly VF patches. As I’ve learned more about the history of NAVAIR, I’ve come to appreciate that colorful history reflected in patches.

Here are pics of some I’ve seen from VFP-63. VFP-63 was established in 1962 and did a WESTPAC deployment in July I that year. They made numerous deployments to WESTPAC and Vietnam till disestablishment in June of 1982. They operated the RF-8 Crusader and were known as “The Eyes of The Fleet.”

Here are some patches from -63s various deployments. Warning, some of these are pretty salty but that’s what makes them interesting 🙂

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Filed under Airplanes, Flying, History, Naval Aviation, Navy, Uncategorized, Vietnam

George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday that acknowledges continued Divine Providence that makes this Nation great.

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor — and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me ‘to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.'”

“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be — That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks — for His kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation — for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His Providence which we experienced in the tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed — for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted — for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.

“And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions — to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually — to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed — to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn [sic] kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord — To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease [sic] of science among them and us — and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. — Given under my hand at the City of New York, the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.”

I wish all of our readers and their families a blessed Thanksgiving

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Farewell Warriors, Farewell Brothers

This has gone around the world and was recently posted on the FB group by Denise. I think it deserves a place on The Lexicans.

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Happy Chanukkah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Among The Joshua Trees

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Blessing over Candles
Hebrew MIDI
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
Hebrew
asher kidishanu b’mitz’votav v’tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
Hebrew
l’had’lik neir shel Chanukah. (Amein)
to light the lights of Chanukkah. (Amen)
Blessing for Chanukkah
Hebrew MIDI
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
Hebrew
she’asah nisim la’avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh. (Amein)
Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time
Shehecheyanu (first night only)
Hebrew MIDI
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
Hebrew
shehecheyanu v’kiyimanu v’higi’anu laz’man hazeh. (Amein)
who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season (Amen)

To all of my friends, followers and The Lexicans I wish all the best this Chanukkah and Thanksgiving.

 

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Luneburg Lens

I’m always running into interesting things while doing research for content here. Yesterday, I ran into something called the Luneburg Lens.

Let’s start with the picture:

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From Wikipedia:

radar reflector can be made from a Luneburg lens by metallizing parts of its surface. Radiation from a distant radar transmitter is focused onto the underside of the metallization on the opposite side of the lens; here it is reflected, and focussed back onto the radar station. A difficulty with this scheme is that metallized regions block the entry or exit of radiation on that part of the lens, but the non-metallized regions result in a blind-spot on the opposite side.

This is an Edwards AFB, F-22 Raptor launching an AIM-9L Sidewinder during testing. If you look aft of the missile’s exhaust plume you’ll notice an odd shape dorsally mounted on the aircraft fuselage. At first you may think it’s a camera that mounted to record launch of the missile but it’s a device meant to enhance the radar signature of the aircraft, called a Luneburg Lens.

Luneburg Lenses are used in radar reflectors to enhance radar signature of low-observable aircraft to operate in airspace that’s being controlled/observed by air traffic control. Here’s a closer look on how it appears on the F-22:

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It’s kind of a grainy image so we’ll try another view of the lens on the F-22:

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Here’s a close-up (again apologizes for the graininess):

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The Luneberg Lenses are also used in target drones such as this Teledyne-Ryan Firebee II drone (the lens appears above the forward wheel of the dolley and aft of the air intake):

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In this case the Lenses are used to enhance the radar signature in order to more accurately simulate radar signature of threat aircraft.

Luneburg Lenses are also used in the airlines to enhance signals for in-flight entertainment systems (IFEs).

I’m sure that most readers are already familiar but, since I don’t work in aerospace, I thought it was an interesting aside.

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Aviator Memorial Update

Over the weekend we raised over $1000 towards this memorial at NAS Lemoore (about which I posted a couple of days ago).

So now we need to think about a logo and some words to place on Lex’s “brick” at the Memorial.

Over on Facebook, I have proposed the following –

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I based this logo on something I read at Lex’s place, namely this…

Finally there is the logo of “the Mighty Shrikes” of VFA-94, home based in Lemoore, California. I was the executive officer, and ultimately the commanding officer of this squadron. While I was commanding officer, we won the wing-wide strike fighter derby – I was immensely proud of my boys, and would have matched them against any squadron in the fleet, man to man. A blue collar bunch of get-it-done pilots that partied like rock stars in foreign ports. I had always considered myself no slouch in that category. Here I realized that not only was I no longer young, I was starting to get actually old. In an admin (where the 18 or so pilots share a hotel suite in foreign ports, sleeping where they can after the night’s amusements) in Hobart, Australia, I returned from a night of liberty in all the usually suspect places at 0400, thoroughly exhausted. over-served and jaded to discover I was the first one home. At 4 AM. What a non-hack.

I get the feeling Lex was pretty proud of those guys.

What say you?

http://www.neptunuslex.com/the-title-bar-logos/

Update:

Working 3 (Final)I’ve tweaked the design a bit. Please note that at the bottom, in italics, I’ve made the word “Friend” bigger. To symbolize that this was donated by his friends. (That would be us.) The ellipsis at the very end is to signify eternity. What Lex was to his family, his shipmates and his friends will never die. We shall all meet again…

(And Snake Eater, it also says “Poet” on his marker at Fort Rosecrans.)

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Aircraft Restoration: Vought (XF-8A) XF8U-1 Crusader

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The Museum of Flight located in Everett, Washington is undertaking restoration of a Vought F-8 Crusader, known as the greatest fighter ever developed. However this isn’t just any F-8. The aircraft undergoing restoration is BuNo: 138899, was the first F-8 built served as the prototype for a production run totaling 1219 aircraft.

The Museum has a website dedicated to the restoration of this aircraft:

‘899’ made 509 flights during five years of flight testing, after which it was donated to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in 1960. After being stored at the Silver Hill, Maryland restoration facility for a number of years, and a few other intermediate stops, the airplane was moved to the Museum of Flight’s Restoration Center in Everett, Washington, where it is currently under restoration.

Here’s how 899 currently looks in the restoration hangar at the Museum of Flight:

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Here’s 899 undergoing painting:

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Its an interesting restoration and the restoration staff is doing a great job. I’m sure will have more on this in the future.

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Aviator Memorial at NAS Lemoore

LemooreAviatorMemorial

 

The Facebook Lexicans have decided to pitch in on this effort making a donation in Lex’s name. Someone mentioned also posting here so that the non-Facebook Lexicans can participate as well. And so here we are…

So here’s what we know, NAS Lemoore is planning a memorial out there to honor Fallen Aviators. The WSO asked me if the Lexicans would be interested in donating in Lex’s name, I assured her that we would.

Everything seems set up and ready to go. The WSO (my daughter) has volunteered to be the Lexican point of contact. She’s going to collect any moneys gathered through the Lexicans. I’ll have more details in a subsequent post. But for now we’re looking at a large engraved brick with logo at the least (it seems we’ll hit a thousand from FB alone) engraved with something along the lines of  (as suggested over at FB):

CAPT Carroll “Lex” LeFon USN
Pilot. Poet. Husband. Father. Friend.

As for a logo I’m thinking perhaps a VFA-94 patch, the squadron Lex commanded. We’re still looking at that. Any other suggestions, chime in here or shoot me an e-mail (given below).

The WSO says she will have more details shortly, I’ll keep you all “posted”. (Heh…)

Here’s the Paypal information:

Email address is erika.salliotte@navy.mil and the name associated with the account is Erika Salliotte. (That’s the WSO, she’s also the POC for her squadron, VFA-2 at Lemoore.)

Like I said, more information will be forthcoming. You can also contact me at OldAFSarge@gmail.com if you need any more information.

From what I understand, the donations have already started to flow.

We are family. And it shows all the time.

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