Perry's military experience

NY Times:
Rick Perry arrived on the campus of Texas A&M University in the tumultuous fall of 1968, cut his hair short, regulation military style, and donned a uniform. College students across America were rising up against the Vietnam War, but Mr. Perry, a member of the Corps of Cadets here, would not be among them.
“There will be no Columbia, no Berkeley here,” the university president, Earl Rudder, declared that fall. When a small band of antiwar protesters took to the steps of the Memorial Student Center, a building dedicated to “Aggies who gave their lives for our country,” young Mr. Perry was incensed.
“I don’t want to use the word ‘long-haired hippie types,’ ” said John Sharp, a Perry classmate and chancellor of the Texas A&M University system, “but a person who did not look like they fit into A&M said some kind of Jane Fonda-type stuff, and I remember Perry got up in his face pretty quick over that. He took exception to it, shouted the guy down.”
Today Mr. Perry, the Texas governor, is running for president in a crowded Republican field as one of just two candidates with military experience. (The other is Ron Paul.) As an Air Force pilot, he flew C-130 cargo planes out of Dyess Air Force Base outside Abilene, about an hour south of the tiny town of Paint Creek, where he grew up.
On the campaign trail, Mr. Perry has focused on domestic affairs, pitching himself as the man who can “overhaul Washington.” His Air Force days give a hint of how he might handle another aspect of the presidency, national security. In recent debates, he has emerged as a muscular interventionist, a stance that can be traced, in part, to his military service.
It was an experience that both expanded and narrowed him, taking him to exotic locales while cementing his Texas roots and the traditional, conservative values that have been so central to his political identity. On Air Force missions overseas, he told students at Liberty University this fall, he had his first encounters with “oppressed people” — an experience that sharpened his idea of the United States as a beacon of democracy and helped convince him that Americans “cannot isolate ourselves within our borders.”
Today, the college student who backed the Vietnam War is, at 61, the hawkish presidential candidate. Mr. Perry has called President Obama “irresponsible” for ending the Iraq war, urged the overthrow of the Iranian government — he would not rule out a military strike — and suggested he would deploy troops to Mexico to “kill these drug cartels” there.
 Selective Service records show that Mr. Perry’s draft lottery number was relatively high, 275, which meant his chance of being drafted was low. Joining the Corps of Cadets did not require a commitment to serving in the military, but as a junior, Mr. Perry made one.
“It was the time, we got caught up in that — it was service, service to the nation, the country’s at war,” said one classmate who also joined, Joe Weber, a retired Marine general who is now vice president for student affairs at A&M. 
In his speech at Liberty University, Mr. Perry offered another explanation: “Four semesters of organic chemistry,” he said, “made a pilot out of me.” 
He graduated in 1972, finished pilot training in February 1974 and was assigned to the 772nd Tactical Airlift Squadron at Dyess, whose duties included two-month overseas rotations at a Royal Air Force station in Mildenhall, England, and Rhein-Main Air Base near Frankfurt, Germany. His missions included a 1974 State Department drought relief effort in Mali, Mauritania and Chad, and two years later, earthquake relief in Guatemala.
“He never lost his temper or got scared,” Mr. Munson said.
But, then he never had to debate the enemy.  OK, that was not very nice.  I like Perry and think he would make a good President.  It appears the Times was looking at his military record for another reason to oppose him and did not find anything.

I like the fact that he stood up to the anti war pukes.  I did the same after I got back from Vietnam and went to law school.  We probably had more of them at UT.


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