Services scheduled for retired Navy aviator | NevadaAppeal.com

Services scheduled for retired Navy aviator

STEVE RANSON
Lahontan Valley News

Funeral services have been scheduled later this month for a retired Navy

captain who was killed Tuesday when his Israeli-built F-21 Kfir jet crashed

into a small arms munition building at Naval Air Station Fallon.

Retired Capt. Carroll LeFon, 51, was flying the F-21 jet, which was owned by

Airborne Tactical Advantage Co., based in Newport News, Va., when he veered

into the building near the northwest gate. ATAC simulates enemy aircraft for

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Navy pilots during exercises as part of the training at the base.

Since a civilian pilot was flying a civilian aircraft, the NAS Fallon Public

Affairs Office said the National Transportation Safely Board will be

investigating the accident. At the time of the crash, which occurred at

about 9:15 a.m., the weather was snowy and foggy with northeast winds

gusting up to 30 miles per hour and the temperature hovering near 31

degrees.

According to a press release from ATAC, services for LeFon will be conducted

on March 27 at 1 p.m., at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. He

leaves behind his wife and three children including a son who flies MH-60S

Seahawks.

ATAC CEO Jeff Parker of ATAC said LeFon was also known as the military

blogger Neptunus Lex.

“ATAC, the Navy and Lex’s family have lost a skilled pilot a great husband

and father, and a great friend; words cannot describe the loss our company

and employees feel with Lex’s departure,” Parker said. “That said, our loss

pales in comparison to our commitment to the family, their well being and

ensuring we honor Lex’s memory and accomplishments fully.”

Originally from Alexandria, Va., LeFon was a 1982 graduate of the U.S. Naval

Academy in Annapolis. He earned his wings in 1987 and reported to his first

fleet squadron, Strike Fighter Squadron 25.

Other tours followed as an instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School,

“TOPGUN,” and he commanded Strike Fighter Squadron 94 from June 2001 to

July 2003. LeFon deployed seven times, serving on the aircraft carriers

Constellation, Independence and Carl Vinson. He earned two Legions of Merit,

two Meritorious Service Medals, the Air Medal (Strike/Flight Award), two

Navy/ Marine Corps Commendation Medals and the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement

Medal.

Rear Adm. John S. Miller said he was stunned by the aviator’s untimely

death. LeFon was operations officer on the USS Constellation for almost two

years when Miller served as commanding officer. The last time Miller saw

LeFon was in Fallon.

“Lex was unique because he is one of the only people I’ve ever met who was a

great fighter pilot, superb naval officer, big thinker and terrific family

man all rolled into one,” Miller said in an email from Washington, D.C. “We

will miss him more than we know.”

Miller served as commander of NSAWC until October when he was relieved in a

change of command ceremony.

Scores of other military bloggers have posted their reflections of LeFon on

various websites. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said LeFon was “a great

naval aviator, a professional analyst of all things naval, and a soulful and

compelling writer of poetry and prose.” Parker also said he wanted to

express ATC’s gratitude for the numerous comments from both the bloggers and

official military channels.

 “I am humbled by the outreach and support from the Navy,” said Parker.

According to Parker, ATAC senior management recently attended the latest

TOPGUN graduation ceremony “where toasts were given honoring Lex from the

Instructors and Commander of TOPGUN, and the Commander of Naval Air Station

Fallon.”

To view the memorial page to Carroll “Lex” LeFon, please visit

http://www.atacusa.com.