Life changing advice from Ross Perot

Ross Perot 's death this week reminds me of an incident long ago. In 1952, I entered the Naval Academy as an enlisted Marine; I was a Purple Heart veteran of Korea with trench foot and other after effects. In the winter of ’52-53, I had additional operations on both feet.

I was the plebe representative on the Brigade Honor Committee, one of the very few positions for a plebe. The head of the committee was Ross Perot, class of '53. I went to Ross' room during evening study hours every week or two for Honor Committee business.

On one visit in about February 1953, I was really down and commented to Ross, "I've been through Paris Island, I've been through Korea; this plebe year is just more endless crap and my feet are hurting like H---! I think I'm gonna put in my papers (i.e. resign) and get the H--- out of here."

After a few moments of deafening silence, Ross calmly looked straight at me and asked, "And just what are you going to tell your mom when you walk in the kitchen door?"

He did not wait for an answer but immediately got us back to committee business.

On many occasions, I have thought back about that incident and Ross' advice in the form of a penetrating question. That simple question, meant to be unanswered, was undoubtedly the best career counseling advice I ever received.

I graduated from the Naval Academy in 1956, and while still in the military also obtained master's degrees in engineering and business.

Richard Swanenburg

Lanexa

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