I can’t count how times guys in the unit would start their stories with that line. Anyways, my first unit was Fox Co. 2nd.Bn, 2nd.Marine Regiment, 2nd. Marine Div. at Camp Lejeune. We were on the Caribbean float in the summer of 1969. We received a message that (then) Governor Rockefeller of New York needed to be pulled out of Venezuela because of rioting by people at their oil fields. We were given rounds for our M-14s and told to wait. I guess things quite down because they had us turn in the ammo and we return to the training schedule. A few days later, we were on the island of Vieques (?) enjoying the base and the E.M. club (a little too much). I had radio watch in our area from midnight to whenever when a message came over the net that the rioting had started back up and Gov. Rockefeller needed to be pulled out. However, this time another unit had been ordering to respond and all others could stand down. It was about this moment that “Top” came out of his room. This might be a shock to some but he had been drinking his fair share and most of the company’s. I ,of course, told him what had just been put over the radio about Gov. Rockefeller. The next thing I knew, “Top” had his field gear on and heading for the door—NO, I didn’t try to stop him—it’s Top. Well so, everything got quiet again for the rest of the night. I was allowed to sleep a little late due to radio watch duty. When I got up late in the morning, everybody wanted to tell me about Top being missing and search parties were covering the island looking for him. So, I got dress and walked over to the company’s office and explain how “Top”, who had been drinking, had taken off with another company in order to save the governor. I also pointed out the fact that I had lodged the incident into the book—I guess no one thought to read it. They got “Top” back safe and sound and nothing more was ever said about it. I have from time to time wondered what “Top” thought when he sobered up and found himself in Venezuela and if he was related to the governor. I grew up in upstate New York and really didn’t care a thing about saving Rockefeller myself. The good news is I made L/Cpl on that float but I’m sure one had nothing to do with the other—if you know what mean. P.S. Top was one of the best Marines I ever had the privilege to serve with and anyone in the company would have done anything for him. Semper Fi TOP!!
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