09 October, 2006


I've wanted to write about this from the first day I read Lex's original post and his many thoughtful commenters, but I both didn't know what to say and feared treading elephant feet on a such tender ground. But reading Chapomatic finally kicked things loose for me.

For three glorious years Lex has taken us inside the fighter jet to experience just a hint of what goes through the mind and body of a fighter pilot as he accomplishes the amazing feats required of a naval aviator. But lately he's put his literary skills to a very personal use: showing us some of the other side of naval service--what happens when a man of honor, duty and devotion stands between Family and Service, when a sheepdog gets a whiff of distant battle, when ego strains against judgment, when dreams thought put to rest attempt to revive and there is no answer that satisfies all demands.

Lex has several times written heart-wrenchingly on what it means to look back on a career that brought tremendous adventure and personal satisfaction in service of a greater good, but realize the career's impact on one's family. And there came a point where he didn't want to do that to his family anymore. So (as he has written on his blog), he asked to be taken off a career track that was headed for something special and has spent two tours flying a desk in San Diego.

He's still being asked to fly a desk, but now in either a war zone or foreign-country, rear-echelon support of that war zone. He could get out of it if he wanted to, but Lex is a man of extremely serious integrity and honor, so that's not his way. And yet he stands torn between the two duty fields in his life, with the realization that there is likely no way to satisfy both...

He is not the only member of our military who must live with these tensions, and I am reminded of what is done on our behalf, of the sacrifices that don't show up on lists of wounded and killed in action.

I cannot know what is best for him and his family, but I am left with two wishes: 1) That it all work out for all involved, and 2) That someday the daughter who possesses the ability to shred his heart understands what his love for her inspired him to do.

Men (and women) like Lex make decisions like this everyday, quietly and without fanfare. Lex, thank you for once again pulling back the curtain a little and letting the rest of us see...

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.