Upset by Shipmate Morals, Perot Sought Navy Release

From Associated Press

Likely independent presidential candidate Ross Perot sought a discharge from the Navy in 1955 partly because he was upset by slack morals aboard his ship, according to a letter found in the files of his one-time congressman.

Perot was denied the discharge because the Navy found that "no hardship exists."

A letter from his father found in the files of the late Rep. Wright Patman of Texas, who was Perot's congressman, contained two enclosures. One was a letter from his son to the secretary of the Navy, giving general reasons for his discharge request. The other was described by the father as a written explanation from the young lieutenant of the specific reasons.

"I have found the Navy to be a fairly Godless organization (with the exception of the Naval Academy)," Perot wrote. "I do not enjoy the prospect of continuing to stand on the quarterdeck as Officer of the Deck in foreign ports, being subjected to drunken tales of moral emptiness, passing out penicillin pills and seeing promiscuity on the part of married men.

"I have observed little in the way of a direct effort to improve a man morally while he is in the Navy or even hold him at his present moral level.

"I constantly hear the Lord's name taken in vain at all levels. I find it unsatisfying to live, work and be directed in an atmosphere where taking God's name in vain is a part of the every day vocabulary," Perot wrote.

He eventually was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1957.

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