Tag Archives: Navy

Failed to sail

Posted by lex, on September 21, 2009

Bummer for the Bonnie Dick *:

Problems with its steam service turbine generators are delaying Friday’s planned deployment of amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, Navy officials confirmed late Wednesday.

Maintenance crews were determining the repairs needed so Bonhomme Richard, carrying nearly 3,000 Marines and sailors, can begin its scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf regions. The turbine generators convert steam into electricity, which in turn feeds energy into the ship’s power supply.

“The ship received an inspection advisory for the ship’s service turbine generators,” said Cmdr. Greg Hicks, a U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesman in San Diego. “Issues were discovered that are best corrected pierside before commencing deployment.”

I was aboard the USS Independence in 1990 when Cat 3 went down. All alert launches were from the waist catapults, and the embarked F-14s couldn’t launch off Cat 4 with Phoenix missiles aboard. The flag wouldn’t cross the Bear Box without Tomcats, so the ship was delayed about a week undergoing repairs.

A lot of people got very excited at the news.

** 01-27-21 Link gone; no replacement found (was Navy Times)

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Navy

In the spirit of Lex, I think he’d agree with this

Let’s see if we can build a good mind picture for you.

You are strapped into an ejection seat with a solid fuel rocket a foot under your butt. A few feet behind you sits 3 tons of JP-5 jet fuel. You are surrounded by the technological trappings of your craft – radio crackling in your helmet, the soft hiss of oxygen flowing into your mask. The verbiage of naval aviation is echoing in your ears – terms, phrases, and queries such as “Closeout, interrogative Texaco” or “Strike, Cams are joined” or (of course) “Fights on!”. You have the world’s most powerful air-to-air radar in the nose of your jet and your mind is wrapped around things like azimuth, altitudes, ranges, speed, target aspect, reciprocals, reattacks and a dozen other things related to your job. Tactics, or how you would direct the initial stages of an intercept, are foremost in your mind. You have a half-dozen or so different panels surrounding you with about 30 or 40 switches and knobs and dials and indicators, all serving some function or other that contribute to your mission.

Your nose gunner, aka the pilot, puts that big jet into a bit of a starboard turn, gradually building up to 4 or 5 Gs. Your G-suit inflates, and that familiar but unique feeling of pressure builds up on your legs and abdomen. You unconsciously and instinctively tighten your leg muscles, pressing down on the floorboard of the cockpit, and you tighten your stomach muscles to work on keeping that blood flowing to your head, lest the G forces drain that big lump of gray matter on top of your shoulders of the blood needed to keep it awake and alert.

The sun is headed down, and you’ve been in the air for an hour or two. You’ve probably plugged into a tanker once – or twice – and watching those fuel tapes and calculating what you have (fuel on board) compared to what you need (fuel on deck) is an ongoing, never ending exercise.

In the middle of all this, your head itches from sweat, your backside is sore from a seat pad that is made by the lowest bidder, you missed evening chow because of some detail that had to be attended to with your OTHER job (“collateral duty”, its amusingly called), when you pull your head out of the cockpit and see the sunset. Colors, reds and oranges and the darkening blues of the approaching night skies meet your eyes. Yeah, these are the moments that make this whole thing priceless.

This was posted on one of the social media sites, and I think it is too good just to disappear. With Pinch’s permission, here it is.

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Filed under Naval Aviation, Navy, Tomcats Forever

Nice Work, Doc

Posted by lex, on February 27th, 2009

A Silver Star * for HM2 Joshua Simson:

Commanders say Simson’s patrol was ambushed in July 2007, but he continued caring for wounded servicemen. Officers say he exposed himself to enemy fire repeatedly over a seven-hour period.

Simson says he’s humbled by the award.

“There were other guys, other Marines, other soldiers who were there that day who weren’t recognized who were just as brave,” said Simson. “Their bravery spurred me on to action.”

After the attack, Simson set up a casualty collection point while continuing to car for about 17 wounded people.

Non Sibi Sed Patriae

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01-22-21 – Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, GWOT, Navy


Posted by lex, on September 7, 2008

James Robbins makes your correspondent feel just that little bit better about his own class standing at the Trade School on the Severn:

(There) is no clear relationship between Academy class rank and leadership qualities. For example, Jimmy Carter, the only Naval Academy graduate to serve as president to date, graduated 59th out of a class of 820, so draw your own conclusions. Seventeen class anchors have attained flag rank, and many low-ranking graduates have gone on to brilliant careers. This tracks with the thesis I developed in my book Last in Their Class; the bottom of the class tends to produce a different kind of leader than the top. Those who wind up at the foot are often there by choice. They could do better if they studied, but they would rather trade class ranking for other pursuits. They tend to be the risk takers, the innovators, usually very well liked and in their own way driven. They know how to get into trouble, and more importantly how to get out of it. They also tend to have more than their share of luck.

Also profiled is the legendary “Hoser” “Toeser” Satrapa, F-14 jock of the “no kill like a guns kill” fame, and self-made armorer of the “blow your thumb off with a 20mm cannon and replace it with your big toe” variety.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Navy

A More Super Hornet

Just finished an interesting article in the latest Smithsonian Air and Space magazine. The Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet will be getting an extensive retrofit giving it more range and even though it is a “4th Generation” fighter, some stealthy qualities even though that was not in the initial design.

But through avionics change, it will gain some of that invisibility.

Another interesting bit? At $10,500/hour, it costs less than a third to run as the new F-35.

I’m sure Hizzoner would have had a lot to say about it.

I guess you could say these are a 4th generation Hornet, following the original single seat Legacy version, to the dual seat FA-18E, to the Super Hornet (about 25% bigger) to this revised version.

…a Super Hornet coming off the Boeing assembly line in St. Louis today is not at all like the Super Hornet I last flew in 1998″.

Seems like an intelligent way of utilizing technological improvements to an original airframe without the huge expense of designing a new airframe.

Lex had an interesting history on the original Hornet. Not a bad ending for the “loser” of the original competition. The winner didn’t do to badly, either.

How the “loser” in the competition became the Navy’s frontline fighter.

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Filed under Naval Aviation


Posted by lex, on July 9, 2006

Off again, to sea this time. A very short trip, but it’s an early wake-up and I found myself – probably not for the last time – muttering a few curses under my breath as I stuffed my parachute bag. A 0500 out-or-down, and it’s not like I’m looking forward to it. Getting too old for this sort of thing, says I. But, it’s well and truly writ that time, tide and formation wait for no man. And when your ride draws forty-plus aft, the tide can be a stern mistress.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Tales Of The Sea Service

Zero Tolerance

Posted by Lex, on Sat July 24, 2004 at 07:00 PM


As a squadron commanding officer, I had to discharge two otherwise fine Sailors who had “popped positive” on urinalysis screens for having THC in their systems. They were good kids, from bad backgrounds – the service had been a lifeline for them, a chance to remove themselves from bad situations.

And I had cut that lifeline – sent one back to the gang infested streets of El Paso. The other returned to East Los Angeles. Truly, my hands were tied.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Life, Navy, Neptunus Lex

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

Lex Describing the Nature of a Navy Command

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.

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Filed under by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Leadership, Lex, Navy, Neptunus Lex

UFOs and the Navy

I had an interesting conversation with a good friend the other day. He is quite a fan of the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens. In looking at a lot of ancient ruins, he believes there is evidence of  extraterrestrial presence everywhere.

I can remember when I went to Egypt, every guide that we had would have a different story as to how the pyramids were built. One thing they could all agree was the site of the quarry – some miles from Giza and the pyramids.

I don’t believe that extraterrestrials built the pyramids – but with so much in history, it’s what we don’t know and assume that piques my interest. It would be fun to be able to travel back in time as an invisible witness – to see how things really evolved.

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