Former Gov. Rick Perry, who has been working to distinguish himself as possibly the only military veteran in the 2016 presidential field, is set to bring the pitch full circle next month when he formally announces a second bid for the White House.
On Thursday, Perry's political action committee released more details about the June 4 announcement, including its location: Addison Airport outside Dallas. The venue will almost certainly give Perry the opportunity to highlight his five years in the Air Force, a regular part of his stump speech.
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.
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"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.
Perry's announcement is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. in Addison.