Who was Carroll LeFon?
The best description of Lex that I’ve heard is “Imagine Hemingway flew fighters…and liked people.”
Lex wrote so many things that I consider to be timeless. I’ve told people from time to time that many of his blog posts were not so much posts as essays.
And here he describes in a succinct and complete manner, the nature of a Navy command.
He wrote this 15 years ago, but it could have been written yesterday.
I believe that I learned more about leadership- – good and bad – during my short time in the Army. There was one Army captain that we’d have followed off a cliff if ordered to do so; knowing he’d be right there with us. He wasn’t a “pal” but we respected him to the hilt. He was an ex-Marine (I know, I know), and a Green Beret in Vietnam who had been a sergeant, if any of that matters.
There was also one staff sgt most of us would have been glad to push off a cliff.
The good and the bad – I saw it all. Most of those above me were good people. Like anything there were both ends of the bell curve.
By lex, on February 1st, 2012
CDR Jonathan Jackson was relieved of command in December for violating the Navy’s sexual harassment policies and for conduct unbecoming. But having read through the Navy IG Report and the commander’s NJP appeal (both pdf files found at the U/T link above), I find that the one is damning and the other exculpatory. We apparently have a department head who bore a two-year grudge, and a struggling junior officer who either was deliberately insulted, or she was not. And a CO who maybe spent a little to much time celebrating with Bacchus, leaving himself open to charges that he spoke thoughtlessly and acted imperfectly, while letting off steam.
These days, you must be nigh on perfect, nearly all the time.
If you’re a CO, that is.
Posted by Lex, on June 27, 2007
“You know, with only a year to go this might be the last time I ever have to polish those brown shoes.
By lex, on April 14th, 2009
It probably sounds trivial, but I wondered in an earlier post * about the meaning of the word “on scene commander” as used by 5th Fleet in relating the takedown of those Somali pirates. Broadly speaking, the captain of a Navy ship has military authority over everyone within his lifelines, but a cruiser CO would be wise to refrain from telling a SEAL platoon CO how to do his job.
Posted by Lex, on June 4, 2008
It may not be commonly known here in the US, but our Canadian allies in the Af have suffered casualties disproportional to their numbers, chiefly because their 2500 soldiers are stationed in the Kandahar region, birthplace of the Taliban and heart of the combative Pashtun ethnic group. The Great White Up has had a vigorous political debate on the direction of the mission, and – having won a concession from NATO for 1000 additional combat troops – has recently agreed to extend their efforts until at least 2011.
By Lex, on Sat – April 30, 2005
I was talking to my chief-of-staff the other day about the first CO I’d had as midshipman – his name escaped me, but his adventures had not. One of those tales brought a glimmer of recognition to his eyes, and he asked, “what ship, and what timeframe?”
Turned out that nearly 30 years ago, the COS and I had been across the pier from one another – he as Lieutenant Junior Grade, and I as a third class midshipman. One of those strange circularities of the service, things that somehow ought to surprise, but over time and experience have lost their ability to do so. He remembered the CO well, and caught me up on his career after I’d left the ship.
Turned out the man had made admiral, and retired with one star on his collar. For reasons which I will in time reveal, this surprised me.
To the Reader: As I was reposting Lex’s posts, I thought it would be nice to organize a few of my favorites by category for the new reader. You’ll probably find even more just going through the Best of index!
01-08-2004 For Everything There Is A Time
07-07-2004 The Goat Locker
05-08-2004 Hobson’s Choice
07-24-2004 Zero Tolerance
08-26-2004 All Kinds of leadership
02-10-2005 My First Chief
04-23-2005 A Retirement Speech
04-30-2005 First Ship, First Cruise
11-28-2006 Zipper Failure
06-27-2007 “When I was a plebe”
10-16-2007 Got A letter In The Mail
05-05-2008 So, what do you really think about me?
01-24-2009 Old Ghosts
04-14-2009 On Scene Commander
05-10-2009 Small Talk
10-10-2009 Acid Test
01-23-2010 Task Saturation
06-20-2010 Second Look
02-19-2011 Class Act
06-4-2011 Speechifying (both for leadership and humor – what not to do!)