September 23, 2016
Last January, I decided to post what I had considered some of Carroll “Lex” LeFon’s best posts over his 9 year period of blogging under his pseudonym Neptunus Lex. Were all of these his best? I am sure that I would get some discussion from Lex.
I had felt if a book were to be published, these would be likely candidates for inclusion. This is in effect a “book” in the medium that Lex helped to pioneer. To be more precise, it is my idea of what a book based on his blog posts would comprise.
If it weren’t for the foresight of one Lexican in saving most of his posts, we would have had virtually nothing as his website went down shortly after his accident. By my estimation, we have about 70% of his work. The rest went to the “bit bucket”, probably gone forever. However, if you look around, you will still see some of his posts around the world here and there.
Lex touched a lot of people.
By lex, on September 24th, 2007
It may be hard to imagine today, but when I was a lad an entire generation of naval aviators had grown up to fill middle and even upper leadership roles in line squadrons without ever having “seen the wolf.” The long peace between Vietnam and Desert Storm meant that nearly 20 years had gone by with little more than the occasional drive by shooting.
My first CO was a Vietnam vet, as was his XO. After that were a long succession of folks who’d never been in actual combat. It was all too possible in that environment to get a “blue bomb” mentality.
By lex, on March 1st, 2007
It’s funny how the memory well can run dry, and then something comes along and primes the pump and there’s one story after another waiting to spill out of you. This one, like yesterday’s, is not my own, but told to me by the man to whom it happened. Another Marine captain, an instructor in the TA-4J training squadron in Meridian, Mississippi. Had a livid scar across his eyebrow, a white line that ran from atop his brow half way to his right ear.
I often wondered how he got it. One day, without prompting, he told me.
By lex, on March 1st, 2007
I didn’t write anything on the heroism of retired Army LCOL Bruce Crandall, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor last week for his actions in Vietnam’s Ia Drang Valley. I thought that many other people had done his tale better justice than could I.
The long and the short of it was that over 22 sorties in a 14-hour fly day on the 15th of November, 1965, he risked his life over and over again, flying into a hot LZ to bring ammunition in and wounded out of the battlespace. His actions kept the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry in the fight, and brought back 70 of their wounded soldiers, many of whom would have died without his valor. The ammunition he brought quite possibly kept the battalion from being over-run and destroyed in detail. He did so even though the LZ was operationally “closed,” meaning that he had every doctrinal reason not to land and that most likely no one would have questioned him for failing to do so. He did it even though he had three machines shot up so badly as to be un-flyable.
By lex, on February 28th, 2007
The story of the grounded Raptors in Hawaii reminds me of one of the first TRANSPAC tales I ever heard. I was an ensign, or maybe a JG in Meridian training in TA-4J’s, and one of the Marine IP’s started talking about a WESTPAC pump his squadron had been on.
It seems that eight Yuma-based A-4F’s were on the way to the P.I., herded by a USAF KC-10 – and unlike the high-tech F-22, they didn’t have to worry about navigation systems that might fail. For the A-4′s, it was TACAN and NDB only, neither of which was worth a damn more than 200 miles or so from a land station.
By lex, on May 11th, 2004
The optimum narrative myth in tales told by fighter pilots occupies a fairly homogenous niche: First off, he’s always the hero of the tale, with the naval variant catapulting off into the ocean skies on a routine training hop. Then, when hostilities suddenly arise, he vanquishes numerically superior adversaries in a pitched battle where the outcome is very much in doubt and the world trembles in the balance. And afterwards, after an OK 3-wire arrested landing, he gets the girl.
Getting the girl was always problematical, in my early days at sea. Combat warships were not yet gender integrated. Come to think about it, it’d still be problematical today, but for different reasons.
Anyway, these kinds of stories are what makes fighter guys smile in their sleep.
There are a thousand stories like this one, all taking place in the training environment since no one comes up to play, anymore. Sigh.
But this is not one of them – this is a story of a career decision.