Former Texas Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry often touts his military experience on the stump while pointing out he may end up being the only 2016 Republican contender with military experience.
Now, as details of his pending announcement are made public, it’s clear Perry tends to leverage his military experience and connections as much as he can.
Perry also has invited a who’s who of prominent veterans to the announcement. In an email to the former governor’s supporters Thursday, retired Marine Corps Capt. Dan Moran revealed a guest list that includes retired U.S. Navy SEALs Paul Craig, JJ Jones, Marcus Luttrell, Pete Scobell and Mike Thornton, a Medal of Honor recipient.
The Perrys have a special bond with Luttrell, whom the family took in years ago while the Navy SEAL was struggling to adjust to civilian life. Marcus’ wife, Melanie, and brother Morgan — a current Navy SEAL — are also on the guest list, as is Taya Kyle, the widow of so-called “American Sniper” Chris Kyle.
The announcement is set for 11:30 am, June 4 at Addison Airport outside Dallas.
“As a United States Marine, I witnessed leadership make the difference between success and failure, life and death,” Moran wrote to Perry’s backers. “I learned that it takes experience to keep calm under pressure, act decisively, and lead the way to victory.”
Perry believes his connection to veterans could give him a competitive advantage in what is expected to be a crowded 2016 race on the Republican side. He likely will not be the only hopeful with the experience, though: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, another veteran, is expected to declare his candidacy June 1, and he recently suggested he will not cede the mantle of the military candidate to Perry.