Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Dark Cold Day

At about 0915 PST last Tuesday, Capt. Carroll 'Lex' LeFon, USN (Ret'd), died when the IAI F-21A Kfir that he was piloting crashed just inside the west gate of Fallon NAS in Nevada. I infer that he was returning from a sortie flown on behalf of his employer to provide "dissimilar type" aggressor aircraft services to the Navy so our young fighter pilots will be better equipped to stay alive and prevail in future encounters. As far as I'm concerned, Capt. LeFon died in the line of duty, serving our country.

There was another side to Lex. He maintained a blog at Neptunus Lex where he wrote eloquently of military affairs and the sea and politics and life. And flying. He wrote with an immediacy that pulled the reader into the cockpit and into the reality of flying the fast-movers. His writing could get your heart beating faster, could get your blood flowing. So I ignored (with difficulty) his politics and reveled in his exquisite tales of the airman's world. (The blog will be there; go on over and read his work.)

Lex retired from the Navy in 2008 and thought to make a second career working at a desk. But that ability was not given to him, so he went back to flying jets. Specifically the Kfir, which is sort of a tinfoil airframe wrapped around a roaring J-79 afterburning turbojet. He had to have loved it.

He also loved the poetry of William Butler Yeats. And so these words, taken from W.H. Auden's "In Memory of W. B. Yeats", seem to serve:

He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.
- - - - -
But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the Bourse,
And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed,
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom,
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Capt., USN (Ret'd)
Gone West, 6 March 2012


Tyler Hoppenfeld said...

I too read Lex faithfully, and I too disagreed with him politically at nearly ever turn.
I never ignored him though, I found him to be one of the few on the other side who's arguments I could follow, and he helped me gain real insight into the how and the why of the deep political disagreements that separated us.

Rich Van Haste said...

I thought Lex's fictional account of life aboard a carrier was possibly the best of his writing. Worth another gander.


Frank Van Haste said...

Concur, Tyler!

...and, Rich, I put the URL for Rhythms in the 'Interesting Links' section of the sidebar. Thanks for the point-out.