Ross Perot entered the United States Naval Academy in 1949 and helped establish its honor system. Perot said his appointment notice to the academy — sent by telegram — was sent by W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel, Texas's 34th governor and former senator.
In 1951, Midshipmen William P. Lawrence and H. Ross Perot developed the honor concept in response to the “doping system” in which midshipmen who took tests in the morning told midshipmen in later classes the answers to the questions. Lawrence and other midshipmen leaders, noting the moral degradation of the brigade from the widespread cheating, gathered all the midshipmen together and challenged them to end the doping system. Without pressure from higher officers, midshipmen pledged to eradicate the system and hold each other to a higher standard of honor.
Perot received the Naval Academy Distinguished Graduate Award.
After leaving the Navy in 1955 Perot joined International Business Machines and quickly became a top salesman. In his last year at IBM, he filled his sales quota for the year in January.
It was during the Nixon administration that Perot became involved in the issue of U.S. prisoners of war in Southeast Asia. Perot said Secretary of State Henry Kissinger asked him to lead a campaign to improve treatment of POWs held in North Vietnam. Perot chartered two jets to fly medical supplies and the wives of POWs to Southeast Asia. They were not allowed into North Vietnam, but the trip attracted enormous media attention.
After their release in 1973, some prisoners said conditions in the camps had improved after the failed missions.
In 1979, the Iranian government jailed two EDS executives and Perot vowed to win their release.
In 1992 Ross Perot ran for President as a 3rd party candidate. He received 19% of the popular vote and was credited (or blamed) for George Bush's loss in the election.
In later years, Perot pushed the Veterans Affairs Department to study neurological causes of Gulf War syndrome, a mysterious illness reported by many soldiers who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf war. He scoffed at officials who blamed the illnesses on stress — "as if they are wimps" — and paid for additional research.
He also received honorary status in the Army and Marine Corps due to his philanthropy and service. Perot is one of just 14 honorary members of the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment. He was made an honorary Green Beret in 2009 for his "remarkable contributions to the Special Forces community," according to Army officials.
In 2017, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller made Perot an honorary Marine, citing his contributions to the service. Among other efforts, Perot conceived of and endowed the Marines' prestigious Leftwich Trophy, recognizing an outstanding infantry officer each year.
Non-military awards of note:
In 1986, Perot became only the third American to receive the Winston Churchill Award for his efforts on behalf of American POWs in Vietnam in the 1960s and for organizing the rescue of two EDS employees from a prison in Iran.
In 1986, Perot received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.
In 2009, Perot received a special award from the VA for his support of veterans.