I was on temporary duty to Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station supporting Ocean Venture ’86. That military base is now closed to active duty operations. It is located about 30 miles east of San Juan which is the capital city of Puerto Rico. I was a fuel truck driver and the Ocean Venture exercise was billed as a multi-branch show of force for Colonel Gaddafi. He was the Libyan dictator who liked to show his butt to the world.
At one point, I had bummed a ride into San Juan to visit a church service. Certainly, there are military chapels but they don’t tend to be very evangelical. On the way to that church, I had noticed a mall in San Juan. Since, I still had a 2 – 3 more weeks on the islandÃ¢Â?Â¦I had a compelling desire to visit that mall.
There was a sailor that we were working with who agreed to let me borrow his new car to go to San Juan. I don’t think I had told him specifically I was driving to San Juan. I just said I wanted to go shopping in town. Afterwards, I learned he thought I was just going into Fajardo right outside the base.
When I was on Puerto Rico, I was amazed at how bad the people drive. It was nothing to see someone up on the sidewalk if it meant they could pass a few cars. The mall we visited had no lighting in the parking lot. When we finally got back, I tossed the keys to him. He wanted to know why we had been gone so long. When I told him it took a while to get into San Juan, he grew very agitated. For me, as long as I put gas in the car it wasn’t a big deal.
Well, come to find out he didn’t have any insurance on the car. It was a brand new sports car with only a few thousand miles on it. I have never figured out how he financed a car without having car insurance but, maybe in Puerto Rico it worked differently back then. All I know is I wouldn’t have taken his car to the corner drug store if I had known he didn’t have car insurance. I don’t have a t-shirt to prove this storyÃ¢Â?Â¦but, I do have two Oscar de la Renta ties from that mall.