07
Mar
12

One Of Our Own

One of Our Own

No doubt, most of you reading this blog will have heard of the death of Neptunus Lex.  For those unfamiliar with him, his blog is listed upon my blogroll, on the right of this screen. It is a joy to read, and to dwell upon,  akin to a fine whiskey. To be sipped, savored, and remembered. Once you started to read his stories, you were hooked.

It didn’t matter whether he was writing of the mundane life of a Naval Aviator, or the sharp parries and thrusts of a political debate. The man could duel with words on a footing as equal to, if not better than, his skill with a saber. He was that good.  Many may banter about the term “wordsmith”, but few could define it. Lex’s writing could, and did. Consistently

In Lex’s blog, his stories, his observations, you got the feeling, reading them, that he wasn’t so much reporting but having a conversation with you. He’d pose questions for his audience, often ending with “discuss among yourselves”. He’d let the conversation flow in the comment section,  popping in from time to time to correct something, but mostly letting the regulars and visitors have at it. And it was always a civilized, gentile discourse. Even when it wasn’t.

Now and then, he would use his blog, as I and many other do, as a catharsis. A means to think something through, to act upon the concept that confession is always good for the soul. Whether it was personal demons, family or job issues, the loss of a friend, or any of the myriad things that accost us all, he would write of them, openly and honestly, as if we were each his closest confidant, friend, or some guy sitting beside him at the bar. He was like that, and he was wonderful with what he did.

Lex was many things. He was a Naval Aviator, flying F/A 18’s in combat.  He was a squadron commander, did his XO tour at Top Gun, and retired as a US Navy Captain. More than that, though, he was a husband and father whose love for his family was evident in the occasional comment and article. He wrote about life as he experienced it, things which interested him, and gave each of us a glimpse into the life and times, the joys and tribulations of an extraordinary soul.

Lex was more than kind to me, an old airdale who followed his lead into blogging. He’d suggested I take it up and when I did, he graciously offered advice and mentored me. He humbled me by linking to my poor site, as one of his “Bloggers in Arms”. More than anything else, though, when I lost a younger sister to cancer, he not only wrote about it on his own site, but sent me a poignant letter of condolence. He was the kind of officer that I would have followed anywhere.

Though I had been reading his blog for awhile, I first met Lex in 2007, at the Millblog Conference in Washington. He was blessed with an infectious smile that must have melted many a womanly heart, and a southern charm that fit him like a tailored suit. He could laugh and listen and treat you as if we’d been acquainted for years. He was a gentleman, and a gentle man, and I like so many others, shall miss him.

It was Lex’s gift to be granted that which so many of us old salts dream about: a second chance. We all think about how we’d like to be able to fly one more mission, to gear up and do what we loved for one last time. Lex, the fighter pilot, the dashing Naval Aviator, got the chance to fly fighters again, as a civilian contractor helping to train the young pilots of his beloved Navy. His skills as an aggressor helped to hone those young mens flying skills to a keen edge, to make them masters of their domain, at least as long as he’d let them.

In the end, Lex left us doing that which he loved to do: flying a fighter.  We should remember his family, praying that they will find solace, and be ready to help them wherever and whenever we can. It is the least that any of us could do. Most of all, we should remember Lex as a gifted writer and storyteller, a true wordsmith, and as our friend.  He let us into his world, and see it through his eyes, and left us always wanting more.

God Speed, Lex.  We’ll miss you mightily.

Also read;

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

Instapinch: Lex

The Sandgram: Cleared West

John Donovan: We were Bloggers Once

USNI Blog: A Remarkable Man

Homefront Six: Fair Winds

SteelJaw Scribe: Ave Atque Vale

EagleSpeak: Beat The Drum Slowly

NavyCS: Thank You For Everything

Pirate’s Cove: If All You See

Doc In The Box: Remembering

NavyTimes: Neptunus Lex

BlackFive: McQ, Pinch & Subsunk

XBRADTC:  RIP Carroll LeFon

Bouhammer: God Speed

The Sniper: RIP Lex

Villainous Company: Lex

Time/Battleland: Life, and Death


36 Responses to “One Of Our Own”


  1. 1 Byron
    March 7, 2012 at 09:46

    Sailor, rest your oar.

  2. 2 SCOTTtheBADGER
    March 7, 2012 at 10:36

    This gonna take awhile to get over.

  3. March 7, 2012 at 10:43

    Yup. I was hoping against hope all yesterday afternoon when I first got the word that a Kfir went down at Fallon.

    Sigh.

    • 4 SCOTTtheBADGER
      March 8, 2012 at 00:14

      It’s a sad fact that when friends die and go away, they never seem to have the courtesy to wait until we are finished with them.

      • March 8, 2012 at 11:19

        Yeah. A good friend committed suicide nearly 3 years ago. We’re still mad at him. Lex, OTOH, I’m sure, went down fighting to live for his family. I met him, mano y mano, last summer and was looking forward to seeing him again this summer when I would be at San Dog again.

        No man is completely gone until those that remember him are gone as well.

      • 6 SCOTTtheBADGER
        March 8, 2012 at 23:36

        I believe that as well, QM. I am fifty, and plan on making it to 100, so Lex will be around for a good long time yet, in our hearts.

  4. 7 Richard Bibb
    March 7, 2012 at 11:07

    Thanks Tim for saying words that so many now feel but so few can express. Prayers for his family, prayers for his friends. I was with him just about the time he was to find out about his last job. HIs joy at being given his ‘second chance’ was infectious and even though I could not be counted as anything but a casual acquaintance at the time he shared freely his gratitude for the opportunity. One wonders how best to honor his sacrifice and example, so freely given and yet so tragically taken too soon to reconcile.

    Richard (OldT6Flyer in the land of Lex)

    • March 7, 2012 at 11:11

      Good questions. There was some brief talk last night (and early this morning) about getting his book “Rhythms” published, and perhaps also some sort of memorial scholarship for young writers.

      We’ll see how it all pans out.

      respects,

  5. March 7, 2012 at 11:29

    Y’all please be sure I hear about whatever kind of memorial thing y’all decide on… Thanks for the post, Tim, but my heart still hurts…

  6. 13 LT B
    March 7, 2012 at 13:34

    Great post Tim. I didn’t even know he had a book. Is it finished and ready for publication?

    • March 7, 2012 at 13:39

      No, just a manuscript. There was some brief discussion last night about seeing if it could get published through USNI. Mary’s going to do some leg work on that, I believe, when the time is right.

      He posted most of it on his site under the title “Rhythms”. You can likely find them with the search function there.

      V/R

  7. March 7, 2012 at 13:51

    Tim:

    Very nice post — there are some early efforts to look at preservation of his legacy, including posthumously publishing the book. More to follow (I hope).
    w/r, SJS

  8. 16 markscease@yahoo.com
    March 7, 2012 at 13:56

    Well said, Tim. The world has lost something bright and true.

  9. March 7, 2012 at 14:11

    Lex, my friend, you are missed. Fair winds and following seas seems so weak at a time like this.

  10. 18 Greg B
    March 7, 2012 at 14:12

    Tim thank you for the post. I was an avid follower of Lex. He was attached to the airwing while I was ship’s company on the Connie (CV-64). He will be sorely missed. Paryers to his family.

  11. 19 grizzledcoastie
    March 7, 2012 at 14:44

    I’m just sick to my stomach over this. My heart just breaks for his family. I know that people would say “he died doing what he loved.” But those words ring hollow today.

    I was one of the ones who congratulated him for his new job and was glad that he was out of his cubicle and back into the air where he belonged.

    I and many others will miss his insight, his wit and his eloquence.

  12. 20 Scott Cochran (Scooter Pie), AW1 Retired
    March 7, 2012 at 15:33

    Your words about Lex are how I feel about you Tim. As I too would just like to fly just one more mission, It is your search, find, track, and if need be destroy blog written ability that allows me have days as if I am actually on that flying mission once more. Your deployment words give me those once again “FLAP” days of missions, the smell of JP-5 fuel, the roar of the those beautiful engines, the camaraderie that only we shared and understood, the needed crew rest and once in awhile a little R&R. Thank you so much my brother!! You have now been given the torch by Lex with a salute to “carry on” which will continue our remaining flying days and carry on in honor of Lex and his legacy. Awaiting our next mission brother!

  13. March 7, 2012 at 17:33

    Thanks Tim. Well said. The news left me dizzy and silent. Appreciate your presence of mind and good words.

  14. 22 Bob Reed
    March 7, 2012 at 18:22

    A great memorial Tim, thanks for this.

  15. March 7, 2012 at 19:45

    Well Said Tim… Last night was a punch in the gut!

  16. March 7, 2012 at 20:31

    Such a sad, sad day. Like you, Tim, Lex was my blog-father and encouraged me to begin blogging back in 2005. I had been reading him for about a year before I had the nerve to actually write the man and he came ack to me almost immediately with thanks for my comments about his blog and encouragement to “jump into the pool.”

    An Officer and a Gentleman, in EVERY sense of the words. The sheer outpouring of love for Lex in the milblogging community is nothing short of amazing.

  17. March 8, 2012 at 01:43

    Thank you for this beautifully written post, Tim.

  18. 26 John
    March 8, 2012 at 13:39

    Amen to all the above. We have all lost one of our best friends, even though most had never actually met him.

    We woulc do no better than to aspire to be like Lex in any way we can,


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