Assistant Police Chief Gary McHone passed the torch to his son, Ryan McHone, on Jan. 23 at Ryan’s Air Force graduation ceremony from the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
Gary McHone joined the Air Force at 18 years old in 1991 as a law enforcement specialist. His son, Ryan, started his four-month Air Force training in the same specialty in October 2016.
“My dad did it, and he joined at the same age as me as well, and he’s in the same career field that I’m in,” Ryan McHone said. “(It’s a) good education and a foot in the door for civilian law enforcement.”
Like his father, Ryan McHone wants to be a first responder. His main goal is to become a police officer at the end of his time in the Air Force, but he is also open to becoming a firefighter.
”I just like helping people, and with (the Air Force) you get a cool beret and stuff,” Ryan McHone said. “(I like) helping people and being the one people can look to.”
Ryan McHone is no stranger to helping people in their time of need. In January 2016, McHone witnessed a car accident at the intersection of U.S. Highway 82 and U.S. Highway 75 in Sherman, Texas. As a result of the accident, the car caught on fire. McHone and another witness worked together to save the man trapped inside. Ryan said stressful situations don’t affect him as much as they do some of his other Air Force peers.
“(The stress) didn’t bother me that much,” Ryan McHone said. “I wasn’t really phased by any of (the training). Some people kind of froze up, but the stress doesn’t bother me necessarily. I think about it and get a little bit of tunnel vision, (but that’s about it).”
The graduation ceremony took place in the same building Gary McHone graduated from 26 years ago. He pinned his old badge on his son.
“It was a cool thing,” Gary McHone said. “It was nice to have the torched passed on basically.”
Growing up in a house with a police officer father and an airman first class brother, Eryn McHone, Ryan’s 13-year-old sister, wants to join the Air Force now, too.
“I always tried to raise them to do things right, and doing the right thing is not always the easy thing,” Gary McHone said. “You do the best you can, and everything else is going to fall into place. A good rule of thumb is to treat people the way you would want your own family to be treated.”
On Saturday, Ryan McHone headed to the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona to continue his training. He’ll be there for an undetermined amount of time — however long the Air Force wants him there. Ryan McHone sees joining the Air Force as a tradition he started, following in his father’s footsteps.
“It means having pride in my country, having pride in myself and having a tradition I am able to start,” Ryan McHone said.
Gary McHone feels that same pride for the time he served in the Air Force.
“It meant and still means I have a lot of pride for serving in the Air Force,” Gary McHone said. “I was grateful for the opportunity I had in the Air Force, and I’m abundantly proud that my son is now serving in the Air Force.”