America lost a hero yesterday—a hero not only for wearing the uniform with honor and integrity, but for teaching the rest of us lessons in patriotism, kindness and generosity.
Retired Captain Carroll F. LeFon, known by his callsign “Lex” and for his beautifully-written blog Neptunus Lex, passed on yesterday while doing what he was made to do—flying a jet. He had retired in 2008 after 30 years in the navy, including four as a student at the Naval Academy, but found the siren call of his first love impossible to resist for long. He recently returned to the air as a contractor playing the role of aggressor pilot in training young pilots at Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, aka TOPGUN, a job that gave him obvious joy. He remained forever devoted to the navy and this country, his 30 years of service having given him an awareness of the faults of both but an abiding idealism regarding their basic goodness and potential.
Captain LeFon had a vital role in the development of Soldiers’ Angels Project Valour-IT. In addition to encouraging the project’s creators, he lent his blogging voice to publicizing the project in its earliest days, putting both his influence and powerful prose to work, and bringing in the first $10,000 donation Project Valour-IT received. When the project hit a bureaucratic speed bump early on, he reached out to his naval contacts to smooth the path, and also created the first Powerpoint that was used to pitch it to military leaders and prospective donors. His support continued throughout the years—one year he purchased several hundred dollars’ worth of insignia ball caps direct from the ship’s store of the brand new U.S.S. George H.W. Bush and sold them off on his blog in exchange for $100 individual donations for Valour-IT.
Remembrances and condolences have poured out on the Internet since confirmation of Captain LeFon’s death, testimony to a man held in high esteem by all who knew him. To say that he will be missed falls far short of describing the sense of loss shared by so many today.
Soldiers’ Angels sends its deepest condolences to the LeFon family, and all who knew and loved him. Fair winds and following seas, Captain LeFon. We are honored to have counted you a friend.