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Gov. Rick Perry Announces Veterans for Perry Coalition

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Mount Pleasant, SC

Texas Gov. Rick Perry today announced the formation of the Veterans for Perry Coalition aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, S.C. The veterans coalition reflects the strong support from veterans across the nation for Gov. Perry, the only presidential candidate in the race who volunteered to serve his country.

Gov. Perry served in the U.S. Air Force as a tactical airlift pilot from 1972-1977, flying C-130 tactical airline aircraft, moving military troops and equipment. The Perry Veterans Coalition is already more than a hundred strong and will continue to grow as more veterans join to voice their support for their fellow vet.

"My father was a tailgunner who flew 35 missions as part of the Allied effort to liberate Europe," said Gov. Perry. "Like many from that generation, he spoke infrequently about his service because he knew the great cost of war and would rather think about peace. I was proud to follow in his footsteps, serving four and half years as a C-130 pilot in the United States Air Force. But I will be the first to tell you that this country has given me more than I could ever offer in return. It is one of the highest honors of my life to be endorsed by more than 100 distinguished veterans from all across the country today. As president, I will be committed to honoring their service with the resources, support and leadership they deserve."

"As the only presidential candidate who volunteered to serve his country, the way that I did, I am confident that Gov. Perry will be an advocate for veterans like myself as President of the United States," said Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor recipient and one of the national co-chairs of the Veterans for Perry Coalition. "I know that he understands the privilege of serving our country and will honor and support veterans like myself."

"Gov. Perry truly understands the honor of volunteering to serve our great nation," said Major General James Everett Livingston, Medal of Honor recipient and one of the national co-chairs of the Veterans for Perry Coalition. "He has advocated on behalf of veterans and their families as governor of Texas, and I know he will proudly represent me and veterans across the nation when he is president."

As governor, Rick Perry successfully worked to establish the nation's largest tuition assistance program authorizing $4 million for state military personnel attending public or private institutions of higher learning in Texas. He helped pass a constitutional amendment, approved by voters, to authorize an additional $500 million in bonds for veterans housing loans and cemeteries.

Gov. Perry and Texas lawmakers worked to make voting while overseas easier for active-duty military members and extended the property tax exemption for fully disabled veterans to their surviving spouse while also ensuring that the property tax exemption follows disabled veterans to a new property if they move. He also created a $3 million workforce development initiative to ensure veterans and their families have the resources necessary to receive an education, get a job and return to civilian life after their deployments are over.

Gov. Perry secured an additional $5 million to expand mental health treatment and support programs for veterans and their families and directed Texas state agencies to establish veteran-to-veteran support groups across the state. Finally, Perry and lawmakers established in-state tuition for veterans who are eligible for federal education benefits, and their spouses and children, while providing a tuition exemption for dependent children whose parent is a Texas resident deployed on active duty overseas.

Veterans who want to stand with a candidate who believes in the values that our nation was built upon and one who volunteered to defend them, as they did, are invited to join the Veterans for Perry Coalition and show their support for Gov. Perry by visiting www.rickperry.org/veterans-for-rick-perry.

Below is a list of those who are already serving on the Veterans for Perry Coalition.

National Co-Chairs

* Major General James Everett Livingston, MOH, U.S. Marine Corp (Ret.) (South Carolina)
* Chuck Larson, Sr., Fmr. U.S. Attorney and Justice Attaché to U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Colonel (USAR, Ret.) (Iowa)
* Dakota Meyer, Sergeant, USMC (Ret.) (Kentucky)
* William R. Mann, Lt. Colonel, US Army (Ret.) (Florida)
* The Honorable Allen B. Clark , Fmr. Assistant Secretary for Veterans Liaison and Program Coordination and Director, National Cemetery System at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, CPT (USA-Ret) (Texas)

National Steering Committee

* The Honorable James Inhofe, U.S. Senator, Oklahoma, U.S. Army (Ret.)
* The Honorable Sam Johnson, United States Congressman, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
* The Honorable Brian Birdwell, Texas State Senator, District 22, Lt. Col. U.S. Army (Ret.)
* The Honorable Jerry Patterson, Texas Land Commissioner, Lt. Col. U.S. Marine Corp (Ret.)
* Dr. Richard Box, U.S. Army (Ret.)
* Marcus Luttrell, Petty Officer First Class, U.S. Navy Seal (Ret.)
* Mike Thornton, U.S. Navy Seal (Ret.)
* Daniel P. Moran, Captain, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)

State Leadership Teams

Iowa

* State Chair: Chuck Larson, Sr., Fmr. U.S. Attorney and Justice Attaché to U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Colonel (USAR, Ret.) (Iowa)
* State Co-Chair: The Honorable Royd Chambers, State Representative, District 5 and Master Sergeant, Iowa National Air Guard, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
* Steering Committee:
o Dale Andres, Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Ret.)
o Gary Fischer, Captain, U.S. Army (Ret.)
o Wayne Vanderkrol, Captain, Army National Guard (Chaplain)
o Gannon Hendrick, Captain, U.S. Army Reserve
o Andy Andersen, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.)
o Lee D. Booton, U.S. Navy, Seaman 1st Class
o Rick LaMere, US Army, (Ret.)
o John W. Sturdy, Sgt. Major, U.S. Army (Ret.)
o Jeffrey A. Havenner, Major, U.S. Army
o Dick L. Rattray, Lt. Colonel, USMCR (Ret.)
o Tom Hanrahan, U.S. Navy
o Zac Buttercase, Army National Guard
o Gabe Haugland, Army National Guard

New Hampshire

* State Chair: The Honorable Frank McCarthy, State Representative, Major, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret. Mustang)
* State Chair: Jim Adams, Pittsfield, Petty Officer Second Class, U.S. Navy
* Steering Committee:
o The Honorable Fred Rice, State Representative, Major, U.S. Army (Ret.)
o The Honorable Larry Gagne, State Representative, Petty Officer Third Class, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
o The Honorable Emile Beaulieu, Mayor of Manchester, Senior Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
o The Honorable Chuck Douglas, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.)
o Ambassador Joe Petrone, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.)
o Dan Fleetham, Jr, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.)
o The Honorable Al Baldassaro, State Representative, First Sergeant, U.S. Marines (Ret.)

Florida

* State Chair: The Honorable Jeff Brandes , State Representative, District 52, U.S. Army (Ret.)
* State Chair: The Honorable George Moraitis, Jr., State Representative, District 91, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
* Steering Committee:
o Tavis McElheny, Lieutenant, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.)
o Tony Buntyn, Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
o Richard Sugg, Staff Sgt, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
o Harlen Twible, Lieutenant U.S. Navy (Ret.)
o Carl Jackson, Petty Officer Second Class, U.S. Navy
o Chet Renfro, Major, U.S. Army (Ret.)
o Bill Helmich, Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)
o Ben Warren, Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)
o Fred Manno, Air Man First First Class -- U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
o Yvonne Pillmore , Lt. Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)

South Carolina

* State Chair: James Everett Livingston, Major General U.S. Marines (Ret.)
* Steering Committee:
o Major General Bob Livingston , Adjutant General -- State of South Carolina
o Herb Ellis, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.)
o James "Boo" Alford, Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army (Ret.)
o Darwin Simpson, Major General, S.C. Army National Guard (Ret.)
o Todd Humphries, Staff Sergeant., U.S. Army (Ret.)
o Roger Sanderson, Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army (Ret.)
o Mark Kelly , Sergeant, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
o Daniel Jones, Sergeant, US Army
o Charles E. Edge, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Ret.)

Gov. Perry has also received the endorsement of the following veterans:

James Veasey -- AR

Debra Justin -- CA

Scott Jeffcoat -- DC

Andy Seabolt -- FL

Guido Echevarria, Sr. -- FL

Dave Scholl -- FL

Gannon Hendrick -- IA

Eligio Marin -- IL

Matt Walker -- IL

Stephen MacKenzie -- IN

Robert Nail -- IN

Philemon St. Amant, II -- LA

Joshua Randall -- MA

Robert Vinson -- NC

Dick Hinch -- NH

John Starkey -- NH

Al Baldassaro -- NH

Ken Weyler -- NH

George Camiolo -- NH

Spec Bowers -- NH

Gerard Leduc -- NH

Royce Elkins -- NH

Bob Greemore -- NH

Moe Villeneuve -- NH

Omer Beaudoin -- NH

Cliff Hurst -- NH

Robert Ferry -- NH

Louis Prince -- NH

Bill Miller -- NH

Michael Bain -- NH

Ed Gionet -- NH

Art Gisi -- NV

Steven Cochran -- OH

David Randall -- OR

Frank Bonneau, Jr. -- OR

Clint Curtis -- PA

Lyndsey Curtis -- PA

Justin Wax -- TN

Glen Gardner -- TX

Shawn Bowles -- TX

Ty Linker -- TX

Larry Tally -- TX

Kevin Allen -- TX

John Harper -- TX

Ron Ruffin -- TX

Jason Woytek -- TX

Scott O'Grady -- TX

Kirk Yarbrough -- TX

Jonathan Hamilton -- TX

Ty Scott -- TX

Al Poteet -- TX

Bill Curlett -- TX

James Bailey -- TX

Louis R. F. Preysz III -- VA

David Swarthout -- WI


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