January 30, 2016
I came to know Lex through his writings. A longtime admirer of his, David Foster of Chicagoboyz.net, recommended a few of his favorite posts.
After reading the very first one, I was hooked. One could say that at that moment I became a Lexican. Some of Lex’s posts made you laugh and others made you think. He had the gift of showing people what life is like to serve on a carrier.
Until I read Lex, this old Army guy thought sailors had an easy life with clean, spacious accommodations and good food. I just wondered if they were allowed to take their golf clubs while on a cruise.
I didn’t realize that it was for most grueling dirty work with very little sleep from the Captain on down. Or that they are away from their families for 6 – even 8 months at a time. Or that flying could range from a near ethereal experience in the clouds to the extreme pressure and fear of trying to land at night at 150 mph. In inky darkness on a “runway” thousands of miles from shore about the size of a postage stamp with little fuel remaining.
I learned a lot about the Navy through Lex. In fact, most of what I know about the Navy is thanks to Lex.
He was well accomplished as a naval aviator. As a group, these people are not known for their humility or introspection, yet this described Lex. It is a profession for which no awards are given for 2nd place.
I believe of his professional accomplishments being the XO of TOPGUN (one word, all caps, don’t ask!) had to have been up there among his proudest professional accomplishments.
I don’t think he approached any task without a full focus and dedication. “Blogito ergo sum” was his blogging motto. Since he chose to write in the relatively new world of Internet blogging, his success wasn’t as readily apparent as an author with book sales numbers.
And yet he had a wide influence.
I think he was surprised when approached by a sailor halfway around the world asking him if he was Neptunus Lex.
He kept his 2 worlds of Carroll LeFon and Neptunus Lex fairly apart from each other. One of the funniest stories I heard about him was told by his wife, aka The Hobbit, during a Lex get together at his favorite place.
As I remember the story, he was walking his dachshund Gus to get the mail when his neighbor stopped to talk with him. The conversation turned to the Internet and the neighbor told Carroll that he really enjoyed this blog called Neptunus Lex. Carroll listened and never told him that he was Neptunus Lex.
He had 2 loves in his life – his family and the Navy, in that order. Both are reflected in his writing.
Some of us today were discussing the fact that there are many people that have not read any of Lex’s writings. His website has been down since shortly after his accident. Fortunately for us, one of our group had been saving a good number of his posts to read off line at a later time. If it weren’t for him, all of Lex’s writings would have disappeared. By my estimation he saved about 70% of his posts over the years. A couple of years ago, I read through this entire collection and chronologically arranged what I thought were his “best of the best” – 288 posts. They span from his first post in 2003 to 2012.
I’ll arrange this span of 9 years in the same chronological order as he wrote them, with the exception of the first 2 posts. About a year after he started writing, he got around to telling the reader a bit about his background, and how he became known as Lex. After these 2 posts, we’ll start as he started with his very first post in 2003. There’ll be 1 a day, just as he had them.
On behalf of Lex and the Lexicans, welcome aboard.
Update – 1-17-2018 – After combing all of advokaat’s wonderful archives, I am going through the Wayback Machine and finding a few here and there. For those interested, these are denoted by the phrase after the “By lex” as “Posted on xx-xx-xxxx”, where the x’s are, of course, the original posting date. The many posts from the archives here do not have the “Posted” prefix. ]
Update – 12-08-18 – There are an additional 600 posts added from the Wayback Machine.
Update – 04-04-21 – Compulsiveness is one trait I share with Lex, as I ended up going through advokaat’s archives twice, then the Wayback Machine twice. In both cases in the first pass I was looking for a “best of” type of post, and in both cases with the 2nd pass I thought it would be good to also repost those posts that were important to Lex. Posts of heroes fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq; many of whom gave their lives. Posts of the political issues of his time. And, sometimes just small posts to recreate the fullness of his blog.
In the end there were 4,219 posts of Lex that have been reposted. The Wayback Machine was sporadic in its capture of his posts of the days. If you look through their archives from 2004 to 2012, you will see a few days where the “spider” came 5 times in a day; and there are times where it didn’t come back for 6 weeks or so. There are a few of Lex’s posts that are irretrievably gone. One of which was called Ulysses. Lex was in love with the English language. I was told that within the Navy among his friends he was known informally as “Mr. Big Words”. Among those who remembered Lex when his blog was up, his version of Ulysses linked dozens of his posts.
But I am thankful for the Wayback Machine for preserving some of his posts that would have been lost forever. In the end, I reposted a bit over 1,500 posts culled from this source.
At no point did I ever consider this drudgery or simply work, but a joyful task. I was able to give back something to a man who shared so much of his life with us. Through it, I came to know Captain Carroll “Lex” LeFon.