Category Archives: Naval History

A Carroll “Lex” LeFon Primer

testLex

Who was Carroll LeFon?

The best description of Lex that I’ve heard is “Imagine Hemingway flew fighters…and liked people.

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Meeting 2 Iwo Jima Veterans

Meeting 2 Iwo Jima Veterans
The Guests of Honor: Cpl Frank Wright (left) Maj Bill White (right)

They are going so fast now, the veterans of WW2. Growing up in the 50s, they were all around me. My father, of course. He had a good friend who was an Army tank commander in North Africa. Another family friend was in the 2nd wave at D-Day. My uncle was a Marine.

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The Case For Hiroshima

Three years ago, I wrote a bit in response to President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima.

Probably nothing in American actions in WW2 have had more controversy than the use of the atomic bomb first in Hiroshima, and then Nagasaki.

Locally we had a mayor years ago who decided to travel to Hiroshima and apologize for our use of that weapon.

Certainly nobody disputes the horrible effects upon the citizens of those cities.

It was 25 years – 1970 – before the Defense Dept. released a classified film on the devastating effects of the blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

But how would the war in the Pacific have ended if these bombs weren’t used?

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Filed under History, Naval History, Politics

James E. Williams

James E Williams

In between working on another post, which may take a few days, I was watching a program on Amazon Prime involving that famous trio, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.

Except this wasn’t the Grand Tour but a boat trip through Cambodia and the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. It was a pretty interesting program, with the usual silly assortment of vehicles.

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Filed under Heroes Among Us, History, Naval History, Navy, Vietnam

WW2 History Rarely Seen

I just finished an excellent series, shown on Netflix, Greatest Events of World War II In Colour.

It is narrated by British actor Derek Jacobi, and has various historians and best-selling authors talking about the battles. 

One usually is presented with what I would call a one dimensional view of history. 

“This is what they thought, and this is why they planned so-and-so, and this was the result.”

In many of these episodes, I have gotten viewpoints that I had never heard before.

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“A Date That Will Live In Infamy”

Pearl_Harbor_Memorial_4

There’s only a handful of dates in our country’s history that one can say there was a “before” and an “after”. A date that totally transformed the country.

A few years ago,  I read the voluminous biography of Charles Lindbergh. As the family gave access to this author Lindbergh papers, I think it was the definitive biography of him.

And one theme that became obvious was how polarized America was before December 7th, 1941.

The times today are certainly not unique.

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“I can run wild for six months…”

 

By lex, on June 4th, 2007

“After that, I have no expectation of success.” — Imperial Japanese Navy Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto, speaking to the Japanese Cabinet during planning for war with the United States in 1940.

On December 7th, 1941 Yamamoto’s fleet delivered a crushing surprise attack on the US at Pearl Harbor. Exactly six months later, four of his six fleet carriers: Soryu, Hiryu, Kaga and Akagi went to the bottom in the waters off Midway Island. The battle began 65 years ago today and was a turning point in the Pacific War, and as US industrial capacity ramped up to wartime production levels the strategic tide had turned.

The only questions remaining was how long it would take to end the fighting, and how many would have to die along the way.

Too long, as it turned out. And far too many.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Naval History

R.I.P. George H.W. Bush

RIP G W Bush

George H. W. Bush in his Grumman TBF Avenger

The thought just came to me that he is the last President we had for which there was no polarization. Whether people voted for him or not, he was recognized as a good and decent man by the country.

One thing I want to add: While it is well known that he was the youngest US Naval aviator to enlist, and that he was shot down in the Pacific and rescued, it is not well known what would have been his fate had he been captured by the Japanese.

Something that stayed with me after years ago reading James Bradley’s book, Flyboys. This was his follow up book to Flags of our Fathers, the story of the Iwo Jima landing.

Chichi Jima is about 150 miles north of Iwo Jima, and was a hub for Japanese radio transmissions in the Pacific. Eight U.S. Navy Airmen were captured, with only Bush able to evade capture.

On the orders of the garrison commander, 5 of them were beaten, tortured and then beheaded. The Japanese then ate their livers.

The future of the country depended on a submarine commander seeing him in a raft on the Pacific.

Fair winds and following seas, Mr. President.

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Filed under Heroes Among Us, Naval History, Uncategorized

Just Finished

By lex, on February 1st, 2012

Pacific Crucible,” by Ian Toll, who also happened to author the wonderful “Six Frigates” recommended to me a few months back. Covering the period just before the Pearl Harbor attack until just after the tide turned at Midway, “Crucible” covers familiar territory for the hobbyist naval historian, but does so in a compelling manner, with vivid prose that fleshes out sympathetic and informative portraits of flag officers and captains on both sides, highlighted by short sketches about sailors in the gun tubs and engine rooms.

Appropriate attention is paid to Joseph Rochefort and his dogged team of cryptanalysts who made the Midway victory possible, and who paid for it – Rochefort in particular – with outrageous treatment by his Washington “superiors“.

Highly recommended.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Books, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Naval History

*Blink*

By lex, on October 7th, 2010

Naval news trackers will learn from Live Science that the Spanish Armada is once again deployed:*

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, History, Lex, Naval History