"I remember Perry got up in his face pretty quick over that"

“There will be no Columbia, no Berkeley here,” the university president, Earl Rudder, declared that fall. When a small band of antiwar protesters took to the steps of the Memorial Student Center, a building dedicated to “Aggies who gave their lives for our country,” young Mr. Perry was incensed.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘long-haired hippie types,’ ” said John Sharp, a Perry classmate and chancellor of the Texas A&M University system, “but a person who did not look like they fit into A&M said some kind of Jane Fonda-type stuff, and I remember Perry got up in his face pretty quick over that. He took exception to it, shouted the guy down.”…

His squadron commanders, Richard L. W. Henry and Bruce Mosley, now both retired colonels, said they knew of no disciplinary action against Mr. Perry. A former pilot and friend, Ronny Munson, recalls him as even-keeled and steady.

“He never lost his temper or got scared,” Mr. Munson said.