H. Ross Perot; a brief history
About my adopted namesake, H. Ross Perot;
Henry Ross Perot
- born June 27 1930 in Texarkana, Texas is an American businessman from Texas, who is best known for seeking the office of President of the United States in 1992 and 1996.
- Eagle Scout
- Entered the US Naval Academy in 1949, helped establish its honor system. Graduated President of his class.
- After his naval service Perot became a star salesman for IBM in 1957, who filled his year's quota in two weeks.
- After becoming frustrated with the company's unwillingness to move on his proposals Perot founded Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in 1962.
- Following 77 refusals he landed a US government contract to computerize the Medicare database. When EDS went public in 1968 the price shot up from $16 to $160 within days.
- Just prior to the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the government of Iran imprisoned two EDS employees in a contract dispute. Perot organized and sponsored a successful rescue. The rescue team was led by retired U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Arthur D. ('Bull') Simons. When the Islamic Revolutionaries stormed the jail to free their comrades the two EDS employees escaped in the melee and made contact with the rescue team, who escorted them out of Tehran and across the Turkish border.
- In 1982 Texas Governor Clements enlisted Perot's assistance in reforming the state's public school. Two key measures which resulted; No Pass, No Play (extracurricular activities), which focused students on school work while dissuading school administrators from overly relying on athletics as a funding source. The other was Teacher Competency Testing, a measure widely embraced by the public and equally scorned by teacher unions.
At this point Perot began drawing the ire of the Reagan and Bush Sr. Administrations;
- Perot became heavily involved in the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue. He believed that hundreds of American servicemen were left behind in Southeast Asia at the end of the U.S. involvement in the war, and that government officials were covering up POW/MIA investigations in order to not reveal a drug smuggling operation used to finance a secret war in Laos. Perot engaged in unauthorized back-channel discussions with Vietnamese officials in the late 1980s, which led to fractured relations between Perot and the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. In 1990, Perot reached agreement with Vietnam's Foreign Ministry to become its business agent in the event diplomatic relations were normalized. Perot also launched private investigations of, and attacks upon, U.S. Department of Defense official Richard Armitage.
- In the time leading up to the 1991 Gulf War Perot voiced strong objections to Capitol Hill lawmakers and the press concerning Bush Sr.'s foreign policy. It was this experience that prompted him to consider a presidential run in 1992.