When I first thought about serving my country, I considered the Air Force, but decided I’d rather be in the military instead. My father told me once that in the Army, you’d live like rats and die like gentlemen. In the Navy, you’d live like gentlemen, and die like rats. I rather counted on living, and that has made all the difference.

Quote Yeats to me and you’ve won my heart…

The guy could write. In three sentences in his first freakin’ post he managed to pull up a forgotten truism, allude to the poet Robert Frost and mention Yeats. It’s not all grunting and emoting in this world, you know; there is poetry in it, and too few military people admit to being poets. CAPT Lefon was a prose poet. He referenced Guinness and The Hobbit and poetry and classical history. He treated people as equals and kicked the tails of fools. There was a beloved wife, two daughters and a son, a beloved Old Dominion and a San Diego, California house draining him of extra money, his sincere dislike of the night trap. All of these came up in occasional conversation, and would include painfully honest hints–and then a full monty confessional description–of a troubled child on the brink. We remembered that he was once XO of TOPGUN, and that it was one word and all caps. We knew how much he hated being competent in a cubicle, and the joy of being able to escape the rule that “once you retire you never are in full grunt again”. We know enough of his family to mourn along with them. Could write, I tell you.

He even linked me every once in a while, inspiring me to better work on my now-defunct blog (I work in a bit of a sensitive field nowadays, thankee–I used to be okay at writing, I suppose). He was gracious when I called him on things (even a defense of Mr. Rogers). I could depend on the man. Lex had an unashamed faith and had beliefs as well. He even has–crap, had–an entirely separate site, the Flight Deck, for people to hang out at the bar and jaw about whatever.

He took care to support and help out newer milbloggers. That support was needed in the 2005-2007 timeframe. I remain firmly convinced that the milblogs were essential to combating information warfare and the narrative of the 2005-2007 Iraq kerfuffle, putting truth out there when untruth was on the airwaves, and providing stories and comments you could not find anywhere else.

And he talked of homecoming. From 2003:

At that moment, everything you have experienced is almost worth it. The moment will not last forever, but it is enough.

Captain and Mrs. LeFon

I miss him already. I’m unable to write more; too many deaths close to me hit home this week. He’d like some Yeats. So, some Yeats and thoughts of his family. I don’t know if it’s a good choice or not–it might hit a little close to home. It’s Yeats. He liked Yeats.


W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)

DANCE there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water’s roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool’s triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of wind?



More – So much More

At Blackfive:
Subsunk – Godspeed, Lex
Pinch – Lex
McQ – God Speed, CAPT Carroll LeFon (Neptunus Lex)

Chap – Pardon Him, Theodotus: Neptunus Lex: Carroll LeFon
UltimaRatioReg – A Remarkable Man Has Stepped Into the Clearing; Captain Carroll LeFon USN (Ret.) 1960-2012
CDRSalamander – Neptunus Lex: Thank You and Farewell
LCDR Benjamin BJ Armstrong – Laughter-Silvered Wings and Chasing the Shouting Wind
A Note from CEO Pete Daly to the LeFon Family

Susan Katz Keating: Neptunus Lex / Carroll LeFon: 1960-2012

At Argghhh!!!
Bill – There is a Universal Fraternity of Aviators…
The Armorer – We were bloggers once, and young.
The Armorer – Lex doing what Lex did best, and enjoyed the most. Flying
FbL – Hole in Our World

Milblogging – RIP Milblogger Carroll LeFon (aka Lex) of Neptunus Lex

Bouhammer – God Speed to a Warrior and a Milblogger

CDR Salamander – Neptunus Lex – Thank You and Farewell

AW1 Tim – One of our own

Grim – Sic Transit Lex

Steeljawscribe – Ave Atque Vale

Homefront Six – Fair winds and following seas…

Steve (The Woodshed) – Don’t Blink

Taco (The SandGram) – Carroll ìLexî LeFon, you are cleared due West

Teresa (Technicalities) – A Story Has Ended

Kanani (Kitchen Dispatch) – RIP Neptunus Lex: One writer pays tribute to another

Jonn (This Ain’t Hell) – RIP, Lex

MaryAnn (Soldiers’ Angels Germany) – Fair Winds, Lex

Cassandra (Villainous Company) – Lex

The Sniper – RIP Lex

Mark Tempest (EagleSpeak) – Beat the drum slowly

caltechgirl (Not Exactly Rocket Science) – Fair Winds and Following Seas

FbL (Fuzzilicious Thinking) – Captain, Departed & The Hole in Our World

Navy Times – Crash kills pilot who blogged as Neptunus Lex

Soldiers’ Angels – Captain “Lex” Lefon

Tailhook Daily Briefing – Neptunus Lex

U.S. Navy Aircraft History – Well, That Sucks

Carmichael’s Position – Talk Among Yourselves

K-Dubyah (Little Drops…..) – Mourning…

Boudicca’s Voice – Lex

James Joyner (Outside the Beltway) – Captain Carroll LeFon, Neptunus Lex, Killed in Crash

streiff (RedState) – Milblogger Neptunus Lex Killed In Plane Crash

Bookworm (PJ Tatler) – Another Light Went Out : Milblogger Neptunus Lex Died Yesterday

xbradtc (Bring the heat, Bring the Stupid) – RIP- Carroll LeFon ìNeptunus Lexî

ALa (Blonde Sagacity) – In Memoriam: Capt. Carroll LeFon, Ret. a.k.a. Neptunus Lex

Sean (Doc in the Box) – Remembering Captain Carroll, Neptunus Lexî LeFon USN (Ret.) 1960-2012

Bullnav (Op For) – RIP CAPT Carroll Lefon, USN (ret), aka Neptunus Lex

LTC John (Miserable Donuts) – A Milblogger passes on…

DrewM. (Ace) – Captain Carroll “Lex” LeFon (USN, Ret)…RIP

Villainous Company: Lex

Posted by Chap in Aviation, Navy, Travel

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  • Thank you for that. Nep Lex was an amazing man, a patriot.

  • Chunk

    I guess it is official then. Fair winds, Cap’n. Your writing has giving me countless hours of laughter at your tales of the sea service, head nods at the political posts, imagined high fives at the gratuitous slaps you gingerly and sparingly gave to the deserved, excitement at the recounting of your time on the cockpit…taking those of us whose Naval Aviation glory years were in the rear view back on the boat. You wrote eloquently of your love of the Navy and our nation, tenderly of your family that you loved, impassioned of your well reasoned political views. Though we never met, I consider you a friend; you have shared so much of your life with me and your other “occasional readers”

    You will be missed, sir. You are loved.

  • So saddened to find out. Saw hint, hoping this wasn’t going to be news when I woke, but knowing the possibility was too high.

    So many thoughts, but first and foremost, a family lost a husband and a father, all the other thoughts on who lost what are secondary.

    I am fortunate to have met him in person, if only briefly, at his first appearance at a MilBlogging Confererence. Quiet and reserved, not the stereotypical pilot, let alone Naval Aviator.

    I will miss him from afar, yet my life has been enriched by his sharing of life and himself, and the company he kept.

  • Fair winds and following seas, Carroll. My sadness over never meeting you in this life is somewhat mitigated by the hope of doing so in the next. To all of the Lefons, I offer my heartfelt condolences. I’ll be praying and asking the Great Physician to comfort you and bind up your inner wounds.


    I am so sorry that this happened. How strange that the death of someone I never met in person can hurt, but it can. I shall miss his wisdom, and his prose. A large part of my days routine, and a very satisfying part of it, has gone away. My condolences to the Hobbit, SNO, Biscut, and the Kat. I even mourn for poor little Gus, who will never be able to understand where his master went.

  • I have no words of my own, so this will have to do for Lex and me….

    O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
    The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
    The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
    While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
    But O heart! heart! heart!
    O the bleeding drops of red,
    Where on the deck my Captain lies,
    Fallen cold and dead.

    O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
    Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
    For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
    For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
    Here Captain! dear father!
    This arm beneath your head;
    It is some dream that on the deck,
    You’ve fallen cold and dead.

    My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
    My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
    The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
    From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
    Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
    But I, with mournful tread,
    Walk the deck my Captain lies,
    Fallen cold and dead.

    — Walt Whitman

  • More than anything else, Lex’s writing could bring you into the story. When he wrote of an experience in the cockpit, you were there with him. He made it real, and could take the most complex actions and render them understandable to the layman.

    He was a gentleman, and a gentle man, and an officer I would willing follow anywhere.

    God Speed, Lex.

  • Byron

    Words fail me. I’ve lost a friend who’s made my life a little better with his friendship and his incredible prose. My condolences to his wonderful family and his dog Gus who will never again sit at his feet while writing another incredible post to his blog. We are all poorer for his loss.

    I can only pray that somehow his collective writings, Tales of the Sea Service and Rhythms will make it into print. To read them is to know Lex, and to know Lex is to be blessed.

    Sailor, rest your oar.

  • Sad news indeed. A true gentleman and patriot lost, a family bereft: we will remember him.

  • LCDR Black

    Byron told me this morning via FB. I send his family, friends and his soul a prayer. God Bless Lex. I loved reading his prose and wished I had half his talent. I am truly saddened by this.

  • Gila

    Back in 2009, Lex wrote about how he was confounded by how often our uber-connected modern culture feels an artificial connection with a celebrity that publicly passes.


    When I learned Lex had “stepped into the clearing at the end of the path” doing what he most loved, I found it worthwhile revisiting his words. This morning, I feel that wrenching feeling he described, not simply for any celebrity he might have, but because the world’s lost a genuinely fine husband, father, naval aviator, and gentleman. The world is a better place because of him.

    Thank you Lex…

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    Fair winds and following seas Sir.

    Thank you for being the example par excellence.

  • Old Air Force Sarge

    I can’t believe this, too stunned for words.

    Farewell Lex.

  • Claude Berube

    Neptunus Lex came to my attention through a close friend, Ed Naro. “I want to understand what miblogging is all about. Who do I read?” The answer came back short, simply in three increasingly familiar letters: “Lex.”
    In our lives we have concentric rings of relationships – family, close friends, acquaintances, colleagues, etc. Now, in the age of social media, there is another ring – the readers and commenters. I barely knew Lex except for some Skype sessions, emails, questions that never went unanswered – he was too much of a gentleman to suggest my questions were less than insightful about flying or aircraft or milblogging, the last of which led me to write an article for Naval Institute Proceedings about the benefits and challenges of milblogging. For any non-aviator, his posts were must-reads if you wanted to get a sense of what it was like to be in the cockpit. Reading his thoughts, his philosophies, was poetry, a literary style as unique as any of the great poets. And could he quote them, and understand them, and convey them in a new way.
    In one of my favorite posts, he used the Tennyson Poem “Ulysses” upon his retirement. Linked in that post were images from his life. Lex was Ulysses and more.
    What became clear in his body of work was his love – the love of his family, the love of his country, his love for the Navy, of duty, honor and commitment, and undeniably his love of flying. Perhaps it is cliché that he died doing what he loved; in this case it was true.

    “But release me from my bands
    With the help of your good hands:
    Gentle breath of yours my sails
    Must fill, or else my project fails,
    Which was to please…
    Let your indulgence set me free.”
    – Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” Prospero’s Solioquy.

    In one of his last posts, he wrote: “It’s funny how quickly you can go from “comfort zone” to “wrestling snakes” in this business.”

    RIP Captain Carroll “Lex” Lefon. A family, the Navy, and countless readers will miss you.

  • Well said!

    RIP Captain Lefon.

  • Mike M.

    I’m shocked, and saddened beyond words. I never met him in person, but was a frequent commenter. The world is made a good deal poorer by his departure.

  • RPL

    I was always a fan of Lex’s, and had the opportunity to meet him at a milblogger conference. He was a true gentleman, and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to get to know him. My sincerest condolences and prayers go out to the Hobbitt, SNO, the Biscuit, and the Kat. I will truly miss the man.

  • Well said, Chap.

  • Thank you Chap.

  • Bob Reed

    Valued by many, he will be sorely missed…

  • It has been a day of sadness, I keep finding myself visiting the various posts recognizing the impact this man had on all of us. I know I will miss Lex’s daily commentary and inspiring insight, not to mention his literary smithery.

    Rest in peace Lex, your legacy and words will echo in our hearts…

    God bless…


  • Grandpa Bluewater

    In heaven the saints and the angels listen up to the word on the 1MC:

    “Now muster the Honor Detail sideboys on the quarter deck with the Officer of the Deck”…
    and at the quarterdeck Saint Michael informs Saint Peter he will take charge of sideboys, while St Barbara will act as BMOW. The side boys are at attention in place in full dress white: “Attention to Muster. Answer up when your name is called:
    Paul Jones – ‘Aye’;
    Preble – ‘Aye’;
    Porter – ‘Aye’;
    Farragut – ‘Aye’;
    Dewey – ‘Aye’;
    Sims – ‘Aye’;
    Halsey – ‘Aye’;
    OHare – ‘Aye’.”

    Hand Salute. Eight bells are rung as the Bosun’s Pipe trills.

    “Carroll LeFon, Captain, USN, Retired – Neptunus Lex, Arriving”.

    Those not yet aboard wait, in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection, when the sea will give up its dead, until we meet at Fiddlers Green.

    Deepest condolences to the Captain’s lady wife, daughters and son,
    as well as us, every one. There, by God was a man.

    Here’s to Lex, and us, and those like us, one fewer left. Drain the cup and smash it into the hearth.

    Damn. Just…Damn. Just…Damn. No man knows, but this one hurts to the center of my heart.

  • Byron

    You’re going to make me lose it completely, Grandpa. Well said.


    Grandpa can always be counted on for the right words. Grandpa Bluewater is Badger Approved.

  • Andy (JADAA)

    If I may, from another post I’ve made elsewhere, today:

    Since two of my squadron-mates went in back in ’94, over the years as I grew on from those days, I figured that was it. 26 guys I knew were gone, taken by the sweet mistress who has held us in her thrall, many of us since childhood. Yes, a few people I have known have perished since then in General Aviation, but that’s different, really. We are, actually, pretty few, and we count our fellows as friends of a different sort. And so when one of us leaves, it is noticed. It is one thing to fade, fade away. It is another to be taken by the mistress, to be here, and then gone. I thought she was done with leaving me to count only the past. So I thought. Number 27.

    Fate is the hunter.

    Lex, you are cleared for takeoff, fly heading 270, second star tot he right, straight on ’till morning. You are cleared to climb unlimited. Switch to departure, monitor Guard. G-dspeed.

  • I’ve been pretty speechless since I found out. I was just in San Diego this week but knew Lex was out in Nevada so didn’t try to connect. Thought of him a lot the last two days as I was staying just across from North Island. Damn.

    Chap, a beautifully written tribute to our friend.

  • Live each day to the fullest, for no one is guaranteed tomorrow. Hold your loved ones close, and remember the happy times.

  • B2


    Beautiful words and fine tribute for one beautiful and heroic man, a man of many parts. He will be missed for what he wrote and how he lived his life. Warrior, father, husband and all around gentleman. Special.


  • Thanks for the small smile.

    “We remembered that he was once XO of TOPGUN, and that it was one word and all caps.”

    Great comments above, sums Lex up well. Why does my stomach hurt so much? It’s hard to believe the power behind an internet connection. I always firmly believed that we WOULD meet some day; if I had made it LA once, then why not Sandy Eggo? My deepest condolences to Mary and his children. They have all lost so much. As has his country.

  • Wharf Rat

    All – I’ve feel like I’ve gotten to know many of you over the years, and your tributes are moving.

    A life well lived. A hero is gone. A family hurting, but proud of the man Lex was. A life well lived……………

  • I just found out and I was immediately heartsick.

    Lex was a dear man who loved his family, loved his job, and who truly cared about those around him. Just seeing his name on an email or comment would make me smile.

    God bless Lex and his family.


  • Dr. Tracy M. Baker

    “Lex’s” writing made you feel like YOU WERE THERE! That is the utmost compliment to a writer, because that is the whole intent of wrting stories, to make the reader feel like they were there when it happened. Lex’s writing provokes very sharp images in my mind and I feel the emotions occurring i the minds of the figures in the story. It is sad that he is gone and can no longer create the enjoyment that his readers felt. I feel sorrow for his family who undoubtedly loved him. How could they not? His writing portrayed a love of life and flying fare above the average. Even though I had never met him, I was shocked and saddened by his passing. I had written him maybe a year ago by email and suggested he write a book. His answer surprised me. He said he had tried and just couldn’t seem to put it all together. He obviously had profound writing talent and though I had never met him, I really liked him. As a writer, I would like to have Lex’s skill. He will be missed.

  • D

    Sucks to be googling, trying to find some info about Navy buds long past, and then come across these RIPs. I only knew Lex briefly, he was an LT in Key West at the time. We had a few ACM’s (1v1, 1v2, 2v2). He flew a good plane. Always wondered where he went. Glad to hear that his online voice brought so many into the cockpit with him.

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