Today the Naval Aviation Community mourns the loss of an inspirational man. Capt. Carroll LaFon USN(Ret.) better know to most of us by his Navy call sign and blogging nom de plume, “Neptunus Lex”.
Yesterday, many of us learned of a crash at Fallon of an Israeli made Kfir-21 flown by the private company and defense contractor ATAC out of Norfolk VA. Immediately our thoughts turned to Lex, knowing he was one of their Kfir pilots. Many of us stayed up through the night connected via a private chat opened up on facebook as a sort of vigil as we awaited news confirming our worst fears. Through a number of back channel coms we did indeed learn the unfortunate and heartbreaking news. Lex had been the pilot and was killed in the crash.
Details of the crash are still forthcoming as the NTSB and FAA will be conducting the investigation into the physics. Today we’re dedicated more to the metaphysics. Our profound sadness is palpable, enveloping us like a quayside fog.
Lex touched a great majority of us in the Naval Aviation Community as well as the civilian world. Through his daily writings on his Blog Neptunus Lex opened our eyes and hearts to a greater understanding of Naval Aviation and the world at large. His poetic prose reminded us that words on digital paper do not have to simply sit, they can come alive and through stylistic construct can weave a story rich in nuance and vision. Lex was a renaissance man.
Thanks to the Social Media Paradigm shift literally thousands have come to know and love Lex through his prose. I was fortunate to meet Lex at the 2009 Tailhook Reunion in Reno, he was in his element, drinking a beer with his zoombagged buddies. But as I walked by, he looked over and called me by name, we had not met yet, but he recognized me from my blogs and this one. He called me over to congratulate me on my award and to offer a thanks for some words of support I sent him in a private email when he was going through some tough times. He made me feel good.
And to thousands of us that is exactly what reading his works did for us every day. It made us feel good. Good about our beliefs as often, his words would serve to buttress our own thoughts, and he also made us feel good about our Naval Aviation Heritage. Lex was a continuing example of compassion, logic, intellect and chivalry.
If you haven’t taken the time to enjoy Lex’s literary prose, I highly recommend heading on over to Lex’s place, you can start anywhere… you will be captured and wanting more. Neptunus Lex.
Lex died doing what he loved to do, fly. There is no solace in his passing, the world is a lesser place for this fact. But, while he was here, this world was indeed better.
Our hearts, our thoughts, and our prayers go out to Lex’s family, he leaves behind a loving wife, an Naval Aviator Son, and two daughters. No words can assuage the grief they are surely feeling this day, but rest assured thier grief is shared among thousands who loved him.
Other tributes can be found here:
- Instapinch: Lex
- SteelJaw Scribe: Ave Atque Vale
- Steve Ambrose: Don’t Blink
- Chap at USNI Blog: Pardon Him
- Susan Katz Keating: Neptunus Lex: 1960-2012
- Castle argghhh!!!: A Fraternity of Aviators
- CDR Salamander: Thank You and Farewell
- The Sandgram: Cleared West
- John Donovan: We were Bloggers Once
- USNI Blog: A Remarkable Man
- Homefront Six: Fair Winds
- AW1 Tim’s Blog One of our own
- Tommy H. Thomason: Well, That Sucks
- Padre Dave Harvey: Requiescat in Pace
- Carmichael’s Position: Talk Among Yourselves