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March 07, 2012


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

- Hamlet

It seems odd to me that I never met Lex in person. As so often happens with things we depend upon and chances postponed because we assume they will always be there for us, this particular road not taken has now been closed forever:

When Lex “left the keys in it” for me to be a guest blogger here about a year ago, we didn’t discuss what to do in this occasion. I am at a loss.

Today I think we are all at a loss.

I can't claim to have been close to Lex, but I deeply admired and respected both the man and the writer. Over the years, his elegant prose and subtle wit have delighted and reassured me more times than I can possibly recount here. His graceful writing seemed so effortless that one might be forgiven for thinking something so natural must also be easy to find.

It was - it is - not, and we are all made poorer by the loss of this good man and his insights.

Though I never knew them except through his loving descriptions, my heart goes out to his family. For some reason, I am reminded of a line from the end of the movie Gladiator:

Is Rome worth one good man's life?
We believed it once. Make us believe it again.

He was a soldier of Rome. Honor him.

Captain Carroll LeFon, United States Navy, spent his life defending the modern day equivalent of Rome. The most enduring tribute I can offer to Lex and those who loved him is that, in a world that seems determined to bring out the worse angels of our nature, he had the rare ability to inspire us to become more worthy of the country we live in.

We should honor such men. That America still produces them is cause for considerable pride. That we have lost another such is a desolation.


A few moments ago I posted a verse that didn't pop into my head until I was sitting in a parking lot traffic an hour ago. I think you should read them here, though.

Posted by Cassandra at March 7, 2012 07:53 AM

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I left a note at Lex's site.

Sometimes I think that the present course of our country is due to a conspiracy to prevent any more such men from being produced. But I think that aim will be frustrated, as the will for such things comes from within and is inextinguishable except by God.

Posted by: RonF at March 7, 2012 10:08 AM

"Captain Carroll LeFon, United States Navy, spent his life defending what is often considered the modern day equivalent of Rome. The most enduring tribute I can offer to Lex and those who loved him is that he had the rare ability to inspire us to be better men and women in a world that seems determined to bring out the worse angels of our nature.

We should honor such men. That America still produces them is cause for considerable pride. That we have lost another such is a desolation."


I extend my sincere condolences to his family.

Posted by: bthun at March 7, 2012 10:16 AM

At least he died doing what he loved so dearly to do. Few are so fortunate.

My condolences to The Hobbit and the children. This was a good man and good teacher.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at March 7, 2012 10:22 AM

Eternal Father, Strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid'st the mighty Ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee,
for those in peril on the sea.

O Spirit, Whom the Father send
To spread abroad the Firmament;
O wind of heaven, by Thy Might,
Save all who dare the eagle's flight;
And keep them by Thy watchful care
From every peril in the air.

Lord, guard and guide the men who fly
Through the great spaces in the sky,
Be with them always in the air,
In dark'ning storms or sunlight fair.
O, Hear us when we lift our prayer,
For those in peril in the air!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked'st on the foaming deep,
and calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee,
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.


Fair winds and following seas, Captain LeFon.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at March 7, 2012 11:00 AM

My heart breaks for his family. The man was truly a gem amongst men.

Posted by: MikeD at March 7, 2012 11:01 AM

Like MikeD, my heart breaks as well. I am grateful to have known him.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at March 7, 2012 11:19 AM

Like you, I found him to be an extraordinary writer. We are lessened without his careful thought, wise commentary, and good spirit.

Posted by: Grim at March 7, 2012 11:33 AM

I ran into Lex some time ago entirely by accident. He had flown up to my neck of the woods, and I had driven into town to pick up some lumber. We crossed paths for a moment at Starbucks. I didn't have time, and I got the impression that he was pressed as well. More of just a "howdy."

That's the shame, we always think there is more time. He certainly was one fine writer, and I'm left to wonder what having a real conversation with him would have been like.

Posted by: Allen at March 7, 2012 12:43 PM

Why is my keyboard wet? Sob.

Tell them, each, today.

There is always tomorrow.

Until there is not.

Babble babble babble. I ... nothing. How can I feel so about the loss of someone I've never met?

Condolences to his family, and his friends. Rest in honored peace, Captain Carrol "Neptunus Lex" LeFon, you've made the world a better place.

Posted by: htom at March 7, 2012 04:37 PM

Fly Navy, sir.

Posted by: spd rdr at March 7, 2012 05:06 PM

I only made it over his way a handful of times, but Rest In Peace Captain LeFon, you and your family has my prayers.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 7, 2012 05:07 PM

I can't believe he's gone....I had no idea until I checked your blog, Cassandra.

What a tragedy. My heart aches for his family. They've lost a good man. As have we all.

Posted by: colagirl at March 7, 2012 08:58 PM

I just learned about him with his death. Wish I had known him earlier. Reading his posts - I get the feeling I know him.

David Foster at ChicagoBoyz.net left some of his favorite posts.

The encounter with the "pacifist" masseuse - the questioning of his 14 year old daughter and her friend of the TopGun movie vs reality ...he had an insight into the everyday things that are poignant or funny.

I am sure what brought the accident was a combination of freaky things.

Aviation accidents, or accidents in general , are usually not just "one cause and...."

They are a chain of events that separately wouldn't mean anything but formed together make a toxic brew.

To have survived 4,000 hours in high performance jets and this..and to have been a crazy combination of things that formed that chain...

On one of his posts, he asked readers the famous 5 people you would have at a dinner.

One of his favorites, and mine, was Amelia Earhart.

I am sure they are yacking up a storm now, comparing aviation notes.

Posted by: Bill Brandt at March 8, 2012 08:41 AM

I met the man once. There was such a sweetness to his smile. And he was a wordsmith like no other.
He is missed.

Posted by: Carrie at March 8, 2012 02:38 PM

I'm still looking for those old posts Carrie - they are archived on an old machine, I think.

Bill, that is a lovely thing to think about.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 8, 2012 03:07 PM

Speaking of meeting the man once...

It just occurred to me --OK, I had to take off my shoes to do the math-- that I had the USNA 'account' for BACC (large posterior computer corporation) during the time that Capt. LeFon was a Midshipman.

I spent a good deal of time on the USNA campus working with some of the staff/professors and chewing the fat with some of the Midshipmen who might wander into the area from time to time. It makes me wish I could more precisely prod my fuzzy memory.

You just never know who you might bump into over the course of a lifetime, which is a good reason to always behave accordingly.

Posted by: bthun at March 8, 2012 04:55 PM

I'm pretty sure my spouse's brief time there overlapped his for at least a few months. He would have been a year ahead of Lex, but boy was that a long time ago!

I doubt they would have met, but you never know. All I remember of the Academy is that during plebe year they made him shave.his.chest.hair.

I kid you not.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 8, 2012 05:06 PM

"during plebe year they made him shave.his.chest.hair."

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! So wrong...

Posted by: bthun at March 8, 2012 05:33 PM

I can't think of anything I can say that won't get me into trouble here :p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 8, 2012 06:35 PM

Thought you were gone away. Welcome back to your castle. I'll just nip out the back.

He was remarkable though wasn't he?

Posted by: Curtis at March 9, 2012 12:38 AM

I can't think of anything I can say that won't get me into trouble here :p

Are you afraid of getting in trouble for admitting you liked him shorn like an Olympic swimmer? Or is it more of a "you think shaving your chest is bad, try shaving your legs" and getting grief from the oink cadre? Or is it that your mind went somewhere south of the gutter in a manner my poor brain didn't?

Posted by: MikeD at March 9, 2012 09:51 AM

bf your bellsouth mail was rejected. Just letting you know.

CV66 E Div!

Posted by: kbob in Katy at March 9, 2012 01:46 PM

Kbob! My old friend!

Remove the "down" from the mail address Kbob! It's there only as an auto-spam-me-not function.

And good to see/hear from ya!

Posted by: bthun at March 9, 2012 02:43 PM