Are November 22, 1963 and September 11th, 2001. I can tell you exactly where I was on both of those dates and what I was doing. On the morning of September 12th, I was walking my dog as normal and I could sense that something was different. It took me a moment, but I realized it was the sky.
It was the absolute quietness of the sky. Not a plane could be seen or heard. The FAA had grounded all civilian air traffic the day before.
Two years later, I visited Manhattan for the first time in my life. Stayed at a little hotel at midtown run by Catholic nuns.
It’s funny how with age some of the smallest things in life one can still remember, like a photograph. My very first memory of El Paso was upon hearing Reveille , looking out my barracks window and seeing nothing but an ocean of sand. The day before, I had finished basic training at Ft Ord, along the coast of the Monterey Peninsula, and the Drill Sgt had us all in formation as he was giving out assignments with the Army post we’d be going to for advanced training. .
Guys were getting infantry, signal corps, and when it came time for him to call my name, “Brandt! Ft Bliss, Texas – Air Defense! ”
I’m thinking (to myself of course) – say what?
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.
We lost a good friend. I wasn’t a Neptunus Lex reader that morning; I hadn’t even heard of him. I will have learned about him tomorrow, when reading the notice from Chicago Boyz.
MarineMom probably described the reaction of his readers best, when she reported the news to her Marine aviator son.
He said that “I feel like somebody just punched me in the gut“.
OldAFSarge has a good post describing that day here.
The very first post I read, recommended by David, really told me all about the kind of man Lex was.
Immensely talented in his chosen line of work.
A man of faith.
Kind to others.
A wicked sense of humor, even at his own expense.
I started devouring his posts on his now-gone website.
When that went down, I started reading the files advokaat fortunately created (for his later reading, he has said).
I thought that for such a good man who described many of his readers as “the best friends I never met”, giving his readers so much of himself, to be silenced simply because of a password would not do.
He turned out to be the best friend I never met..
Update: 03/07/19 – If you have just come across this via search engine, and want to know more about Carroll LeFon, here’s a good place to start. For one, you will learn a lot about Naval Aviation. But he wrote about so many other things – life and current events.
My Epilogue is here.
By lex, on December 28th, 2008
Samuel P. Huntingdon wrote two of the more important books of your correspondent’s intellectual development (such as it is), “The Soldier and the State,” and “The Clash of Civilizations“, both of which were far ahead of their times and remarkably prescient.
In the first, the Harvard political scientist said, per Robert Kaplan, that:
By The Kat, on May 28th, 2012
I’m not quite sure if anyone still looks at this site, but even so it didn’t feel right to not post a final word. A thank you note, I guess.
I am “Kat,” Lex’s youngest daughter. In the bustle of the last few months my family and I have been neglecting the blog, unsure what the next step for his site would be. At some point, the domain expired; and while my father was many things, organized on the computer he was not. So after a series of jumping through hoops and searching through his computer I finally figured out how to get it back up. My family and I would like to keep it, as so many of you have also requested. On behalf on my whole family, I would like to thank you all for the support, care, and loving words about my father. It is nothing short of breathtaking to read the beautiful things you have all said and it means more than I can possibly express through a blog post.
Thank you all so very much.
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05-30-2019 – From The Editor
Shortly after Kat posted this, Lex’s website went down. Which eventually brought his posts to this site…
My idea of a real lady is a woman who can talk with the boys, yet never lose her grace or femininity. You just know that you are in the presence of a true lady.
Barbara Bush had that quality. Below I’d like to offer a story given by a fellow Lexican yesterday on Barbara – courtesy of author and shuttle astronaut Mike Mullane from his book “Riding Rockets,” Scribner 2006 – edited)
(By Mike Mullane)
The highlight of our meager postflight PR tour was a visit to George Bush, Senior’s White House. We were shocked by the invitation. STS-36 had been virtually ignored in the press. There were no women on the crew, no minorities, no firsts of any kind that might have turned out the press to cover a presidential handshake. Whatever the reason, the invitation was sincerely appreciated.