Monthly Archives: May 2019

Jim Clark – The Greatest Driver?

How does one measure that? Many will say only consider the confines of Formula 1 racing.

I’m not one of them.

I think today too, more than ever with technology, the car is as important as the driver.

Certainly Michael Schumacher would be on anyone’s short list with 7 world F1 championships.

I don’t wish to denigrate his achievements, but I think the evolution of his Ferrari was as important as his abilities.

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The Medal of Honor: Not all beer and skittles

Being a Medal of Honor recipient places one in one of the most elite military fraternities in the world, with just 70 living members. Created during the Civil War, 3,504 men, and one woman, have been bestowed that honor. Mary Walker, a surgeon during the Battle of Bull Run, was the lone female recipient.

For many, instead of being a reminder of having the highest honor this country can bestow, it is a reminder of the worst day of their lives.

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WX CNX

By lex, on March 1st, 2012

I’m on the early page it seems, with the 0515 brief burned into my forehead. And the late go as well, so long as your definition of “late” is expansive enough to admit a 1215 brief, 1400 take-off, and 1500 land. With the debrief to follow. Well within the limits of crew day, mind. But a 0415 wake-up, day after day, is rough country for old men.

Especially when, as it was today, the whole thing seems to be for naught.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Lex, Naval Aviation, Neptunus Lex

It was 25 years ago today…

By lex, on May 25th, 2007

That the sh!t hit the fleet *.

It was 25 years ago today...

After torturing the plebes one last time on Herndon, we’d had a week’s worth of fin de siecle parties on and around the campus – the “N” dance for varsity athletes over at Hubbard Hall, where the crew team tormented themselves for most of the year, was a highlight – it was the only affair in the Yard that served champagne, as I recall. Tropical whites and tiki torches reflected the Severn River. With all of the beautiful young men and women, it had the feeling of a movie set from the 1940′s, the “before” picture setting the left bookend to an unknowable “after” – an “after” whose ghostly contours are now, after 25 years, growing daily more distinct.

Finally the preparations were complete it was time to mill around smartly outside as the underclasses marched to the stadium to bid us farewell with ever-descending degrees of sincerity; the second class with whom we had become fast friends, the youngsters who still eyed us with all the caution that one uses around a biting dog that wags its tail, the plebes with a cordial loathing. A rustling in the seats as we sat down, an interminable speech or two – brave new world, sea lines of communication, the defense of the republic from the Soviet Menace, etc. Then, finally, graduation and commissioning of the top 10% in order of class rank, the rest of us alphabetically (your correspondent was solidly in the top 90% of his class). Hats up (and down, it turns out). The fat gold bar of an ensign replacing the thin one of a first class midshipman.

The smiles and handshakes after, the promises to keep in touch, that we’d see each other in the fleet. Promises we sometimes kept, but the tendency of things is always towards disorder, towards chaos. There would in any case be new loyalties to supercede that sacred word “classmate” – a word that had gotten us all through a difficult four years. There would be roommates, wingmen, squadron mates, messmates, shipmates, service buddies, Marines, dogs and finally, sojers.

Today we head down to the university campus to see our replacements join the line, NROTC midshipmen from the local universities: SDSU, UCSD, USD and Point Loma Nazarene. Three young people that we have fed and entertained for the last three years will be commissioned, two will change uniforms entirely. Our young man will lead the color guard, having exchanged the two diagonal stripes of a midshipman second class on his shoulder boards with the single, thin, horizontal stripe of a first class midshipman .

The cycle continues.

* 08-08-2018 Link Gone; no replacement found (Was Lex Post Midshipmen from 06-21-2004– Ed.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Lex, Navy, USNA

The Cold Blue

TheColdBlue

Last December, I was writing about a very limited showing of a fascinating movie on World War 1 that director Peter Jackson made. It was fascinating for the digital restoration he made of the old film, now over 100 years old.

Now Director Erik Nelson has breathed a similar new life into a film about World War 2 and the Mighty 8th AAF.

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RIP Niki

The only Grand Prix that I have ever seen was in the summer of 1973, courtesy of the Army Special Services.

If you were off duty they sometimes arranged day trips of the local areas. The German Grand Prix was to be at a fabled course called the Nurburgring. This course, built in the 1920s, was the longest closed circuit course by far, at 14 miles or so. Fourteen miles of terrifying sharp turns, long straights, and in one area a jump through the Eifel forest.

Racing great Jackie Stewart called the course The Green Hell, and the term stuck.

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A Woman of No Importance

A Woman of No Importance

There have been some books that I have had to slog through, sticking with them because they were bogged with minutia but overall  interesting; others I have flown through. This book is one of those that is hard to put down.

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