In Memoriam: Neptunus Lex

Captain Carroll LeFon, USN (retired)…known to the blogosphere as Neptunus Lex….was killed yesterday. Lex was flying an Israeli-made Kfir fighter for a contractor that provides “adversary” services for training U.S. combat pilots. Details of the accident are not yet clear; however, it’s been reported that weather conditions included both fog and snow.

This is a terrible loss. Lex was a great writer and an incisive thinker, extraordinarily well-read in literature and history. He must have been a great officer; some of his leadership qualities can be seen in his discussion of various shipboard incidents and the gentle but firm way he managed the occasional out-of-control comments exchange on his blog. He was a true patriot, devoted to his family, he loved the Navy, and he loved aviation. He had a great sense of humor, and he was that rare thing, a truly morally serious person.

Herewith, a collection of some of my favorite Neptunus Lex posts…

The captain wakes before dawn…with a feeling that all is not well with the ship

Reading Solzhenitsyn at the US Naval Academy

Movie vs reality. Lex, who served as executive officer of the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), answers some question’s from his daughter’s friend about the movie.

Hornets, Tomcats, Scooters, Girls & Guys, Oh My!

Lex, in a pensive mood

Some reflections on a less-than-perfect carrier landing, a verbal interchange that probably shouldn’t have happened, and the nature of leadership

Have you ever killed anyone? asked the massage therapist, after learning that Lex had been in the Navy.

You’re having a dinner party and have the magical ability to invite 10 people–5 men and 5 women–from all of history. Who would you pick?

Tennyson’s Ulysses, personalized and hyperlinked. Created by Lex to mark his retirement from the Navy. Perhaps my favorite of all of Lex’s posts, and particularly appropriate today.

As Cassandra says, quoting Hamlet:

He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again

10 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Neptunus Lex”

  1. David – I wish I had known about Carroll before now – I have been going through just some of his posts – what a sense of humor!

    He must have been some pilot.

    His story of the female “scooter drivers” in the PI “shooting” down the Tomcats reminded me of a female A-10 pilot, who earned the nickname of ‘KC” – for “Killer Chick” during the first Gulf War.

    I’ll be doing a lot of reading from your links – and his web site. The movie vs reality post was hilarious but I couldn’t seem to get to the rest of the post.

    Typical of a 14 year old girl to admire the movie actor more than the real thing.

    I’ve sent this link to my aviation friends – I am sure that my sentiments – of wishing I had known Carroll before – will be echoed many times around the world.

  2. Thanks, David.

    I’ve only been reading Lex for… 9 years. It seems like yesterday I first stumbled across his blog. Out of the hundreds… thousands of posts, you’ve found a fine selection to show the man he was.

  3. The Ulysses link is full of photos that gladden and break the heart all at once. If grief can be perfectly borne, and it cannot, it must need remind the heart how much it lost.

    Thank you for the links.

  4. Reading Old Ghosts – the nature of leadership – I saw that Carroll was the kind of officer everyone wished they’d had.

    In the Army there were a few officers you’d follow off a cliff if asked, and a few you’d gladly push off a cliff.

    Most fell in the broad middle. Fortunately I knew one like Carroll – Cpt Charles Daly – Special Forces Sgt from Vietnam, went to OCS – knew both sides of the fence.

    Carroll was one you’d follow anywhere.

  5. This is depressing – loosing a thoughtful blogger like Lex, right after Breitbart, just at the time when they are needed the most.
    I will really begin to worry if something happens to Wretchard, at the Belmont Club.

  6. When it comes to aviation accidents it is almost always foolish to speculate before the NTSB comes back with their findings. Almost inevitably what the “experts” thought – and what the findings were, are not the same.

    With that said in doing a bit of web surfing I learned that his plane crashed into a building “near the west gate of NAS Fallon”

    And in reading his blog came across a chilling post – about his landing and his drag chute failing to deploy – posted the same day as the accident

    When you get to his level of pilot skill they rarely make dumb mistakes – they have seen – and learned to avoid – almost everything that can be avoided –
    except mechanical failure.

    As the first article mentioned the NTSB will investigate the accident since this was a civilian plane.

    They are really amazing at reconstructing the events.

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