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Perry joined the USAF in 1972 and served with distinction for five years. He was discharged in 1977 with the rank of Captain. While in the Air Force, Perry was stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Germany and Saudi Arabia. He was assigned to fly the C-130, a military transport aircraft, and flew to various locations around the world, including Europe, South America and Africa.
A fifth-generation Texan, Perry was born in Paint Creek, about 60 miles (97 km) north of Abilene in West Texas, to ranchers Joseph Ray Perry and the former Amelia June Holt. His father, a Democrat, was a long-time Haskell County commissioner and school board member. Perry has said that his interest in politics probably began in November 1961, when his father took him to the funeral of U.S. Representative Sam Rayburn (D-TX),who during his long public career served as speaker of the Texas House for a short time at the age of 29 and then later for 17 years as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Perry was in the Boy Scouts (BSA) and earned the rank of Eagle Scout; his son, Griffin, would later become an Eagle Scout as well. The BSA has honored Perry with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
Perry graduated from Paint Creek High School in 1968. He then attended Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets, a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, was elected senior class social secretary, and was also elected as one of A&M's five yell leaders (a popular Texas A&M tradition analogous to male cheerleaders).Perry graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science with a 2.5 GPA.
Perry said that the Corps of Cadets gave him the discipline to complete his animal sciences degree and earn a commission in the Air Force. In a 1989 interview he said that "I was probably a bit of a free spirit, not particularly structured real well for life outside of a military regime, I would have not lasted at Texas Tech or the University of Texas. I would have hit the fraternity scene and lasted about one semester."Perry was a prankster in college: he once placed live chickens in the closet of an upperclassman during Christmas break and used M-80 firecrackers to prank students using the toilet.
In the early 1970s, Perry interned during several summers with the Southwestern Company, as a door-to-door book salesman. "I count my time working for Dortch Oldham [President of the Southwestern Company] as one of the most important formative experiences of my life," Perry said in 2010. "There is nothing that tests your commitment to a goal like getting a few doors closed in your face." He said that "Mr. Oldham taught legions of young people to communicate quickly, clearly and with passion, a lesson that has served me well in my life since then."
Upon graduation, Perry was commissioned in the Air Force, completed pilot training, and flew C-130 tactical airlift in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe until 1977. He left the Air Force with the rank of captain, returned to Texas, and went into business farming cotton with his father.
James Richard "Rick" Perry (born March 4, 1950) is the 47th and current Governor of Texas. A Republican, Perry was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. Perry was elected to full gubernatorial terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010. With a tenure in office to date of 10 years, 289 days, Perry is the longest continuously serving current U.S. governor, and the second longest serving current U.S. governor after Terry Branstad of Iowa.
Perry served as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2008 (succeeding Sonny Perdue of Georgia) and again in 2011.Perry is the longest serving governor in Texas state history. As a result, he is the only governor in modern Texas history to have appointed at least one person to every eligible state office, board, or commission position (as well as to several elected offices to which the governor can appoint someone to fill an unexpired term, such as six of the nine current members of the Texas Supreme Court).
Perry won the Texas 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary election, defeating U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and former Wharton County Republican Party Chairwoman and businesswoman Debra Medina. In the 2010 Texas gubernatorial election, Perry won a third term by defeating former Houston mayor Bill White and Kathie Glass.On August 13, 2011, Perry announced in South Carolina that he was running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2012 presidential election. Political observers and public opinion polls place him as a front-runner in the race.
Father: Ray Perry
Mother: Amelia Perry
Wife: Anita Thigpen (m. 1982, one son, one daughter)
High School: Paint Creek High School, Paint Creek, TX (1968)
University: BA Animal Science, Texas A&M University (1972)
Governor of Texas (2000-)
Lieutenant Governor of Texas (1999-2000, under George W. Bush)
Texas State Official Texas Agriculture Commissioner (1991-99)
American Legion Post 75
Boy Scouts of America
Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity
Distinguished Eagle Scout Award
Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service
Dubya Ranch Hand Jan-2001
Surgery stem cell transplant, unvetted procedure (1-Jul-2011)
Global Warming Skeptics
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Man of the House (25-Feb-2005) · Himself
Author of books:
On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts are Worth Fighting For (2008)
Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington (2010)