Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Capt Carroll LeFon USN Retd - "Neptunus Lex" a very special man

`Lex` was killed yesterday in a flying incident in the aircraft in the photograph . 

Naval aviator, fighter pilot, writer, husband, father.
 An outstanding man. 
There is a big hole in The Universe and the earth is somehow diminished now he no longer resides here.


sparkflash said...

I remember reading about the test pilots at Edwards Air Force Base and the high mortality rate there, back in the 50's and 60's. The consolation they took was the knowledge that there wasn't any other way any of them would rather have gone.

RIP Captain Carroll LeFon.

Quartermaster said...

Hog, it's gonna take awhile for this to heal. I might wanna borrow your Jack Russel Terrorist to sic on a GCA controller. From all appearances it was Ground Control Approach that screwed the pooch on this one.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Spark`: Thanks pal. I've followed `Lex` for quite a while now and love the gang at his blog. He won the Military Blog of the Year awards and was a fantastic writer and commentator of all things military, politcal and social. We corresponded privately and, considering the popularity of his blog and his hectic life he always found time to exchange views, swap good books etc with me. I was looking forward to having a glass with him when I visited the West Coast. I could pull dozens of names of pointless wasters out of thin air that I'd gladly give up to have him back, but of course that's not our call is it.

QM: Hi mate. Funny, but I thought something was smelly when I heard the news, although like you I didn't want to ask - wrong time etc as you know.

I'm so glad you dropped in to leave a note. I don't want to lose touch with you guys as you were better than my local pub. Lex was a by-the-numbers flier, I could tell that, how else could he have survived that long in the saddle?
That was an old tech plane, albeit still a potent one and although I'm not a pilot I know enough to know that it wasn't as pilot friendly as the F/A 18.
The recent incidents were really played down by the man (the oxygen, the canopy seal, the streamer) but that shit was happening at 200kts and that thing is only just airborne at that speed. So much shit - so few seconds to shovel it.
I'll stay looking in but I'd appreciate it if you can keep me posted of any developments. I am hoping to meet Zane at Duxford this year. He lives about 90 minutes from me and I still don't have his UK contact details - early days, though. (I'd be tempted to bring the JRT over myself).

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I will keeep you posted. Now I must go take a shower, as badgers look silly with the fur on thier muzzles crusted with salt from tears.

Quartermaster said...

Hog, glad to stay in touch. My email is mrgcoengr at hotmail dot com

The email is an artifact from my days as Morgan County Engineer in Ohio and I've had it for over 10 years now. If that goes away one of two things has happened, 1) Microsoft killed hotmail. 2)I joined Lex at Fiddler's Green.

Hopefully neither will happen any time soon.

let me know if you plan a visit to the colonies. A group will be gathering in San Dog this July when i go out on business.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Scott/QM: Thanks for that. I've found myself choked at various times of the day, out of the blue it gets me, so it does./
I've noted the contact, thanks QM. Will confirm with a `ping`.
Maybe on Nova Scotia soil this summer,that's half the journey cracked! Maybe in July, but too soon to confirm.

Quartermaster said...

I don't know if you've discovered Castle Argghhh or not. Here's a link to a thread that has a link to a nice poster of the "Demotivator" variety about Lex's departure from this veail of tears.

If it's gone when you get there, let me know. I saved a copy and will email it. I'm collecting all I can about Lex in pics and such while I can.

Kris, in New England said...

Hogday: starting to make the rounds of tributes to Lex. It's raw and I feel it is the least I can do, for all of us. I remember the post he put that picture up with: Who's a Qual? He was just so - happy - with the ATAC gig. Makes his death all the more difficult to bear.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Thanks Kris. Have posted on `The Noodle`

aniemyer said...

Hogday, m'lad, thanks for posting your thoughts. As things progress we hope to spend some time as to the "why" and "how," if only because it's exactly what Lex would want of his fellow aviators and friends. Stay tuned, and if there's any way you can safely come to FaceBook, we're there, too.

MissBirdlegs in AL said...

We'll all be hanging around Lex's Place for a while at least, so do continue to visit.

I loved your tribute, although that pic really smacks me in the gut when I come upon it unexpectedly.

Homefront Six said...

Found your post via the peeps over on FB. This one's definitely going to take a while to heal like QM said. Glad to have found your site. Sorry for the circumstances under which I did.

be603 said...

Glad to find your place (and remembrance) here HGDY.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I was listening to Wisconsin Public Radio Sunday night, waiting for the 3 hours of old time radio that they play every Sunday nightt from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM. The last song on Simply Folk at five to eight was Ashokan Farewell. One of the saddest songs in the world, but under current circumstances, it made me feel all hollow.

I hope this sadness starts to go away.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Homefront 6
MissBirdlegs (love to know where that one came from!)

Thank you all for reaching out this way. The same back at you all. I could always feel that Lex's crowd would be just the greatest people.
Yes, it is a big hit to take, it is unbelievable in its suddenness and its cruelty. Scott, that is an evocative tune for sure, a sort of `even after the hurting is over it's still going to hurt` sort of tune. No wonder Ken Burns chose it as a thread for the Civil War series.

It's nice to be thought of like this. Human kindness is just the greatest gift. Dear Lex, look what you've done to us

Unknown said...

NTSB prelim report is up: As a pilot (if only of bugsmashers), this scenario is a nightmare. I can't begin to imagine it at double the approach speed in an aircraft with the gliding trajectory of an anvil. For reference, airport diagrams for Fallon ( )and Reno ( ) . PDF including minimums for PAR (GCA guided) approach to Fallon ( ) From reported weather, the field was either right at or below minimums. Given how intact the aircraft is despite the crash and fire, I wonder if there was anything left in the tanks to burn.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Came to check your strange experience.

The strangest death experience I have ever had involved T.O.M, Sopwith's death. When his best friend Harry Hawker died, Sopwith renamed his company Hawker Aviation.

On the day Sopwith died, the Marines were using nearby Fort McCoy, where the US Army has a winter training center. I listened to the Sopwith obit on Wisconsin Public radio, as I drove down a back country road. Right after the obit ended, a single Harrier flew over.
That was kind of creepy. I half expected to see Rod Serling standing on the shoulder.

Hogdayafternoon said...

U/K; Bloody nightmare. An old pal of mine was in the RAF when we still flew English Electric/BAC Lightnings. Their jockey's would say of such weather conditions that a crash was inevitable, it was just that more often than not they managed to call it `a landing`. The cliche says that its better to die doing something you loved, that is probably so, and I think our man loved his fast jet flying, but on this occasion he died trying to save his own arse - not quite the same thing methinks. I'm pissed at this and of the waste and the loss and don't get me started again.

Scott: That was indeed a great moment. Thanks for telling me.

Justthisguy said...

I remember when Sopwith turned 100. He got the usual congratulations from The Monarch, of course, but also got the treat of seeing someone fly by in a Pup.

I reckon they couldn't find anybody these days, who is brave enough to attempt aviation in a Camel.

The USAF Museum built a perfect replica of a Sopwith Camel. They rolled it out, started it up, and then shut it down and rolled it back into the hangar without doing the slightest attempt to fly it. Shame on them.