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2nd Fighter Training Squadron Unsung hero: Ian Tracy

Airman 1st Class Ian Tracy stands at attention during a change of command ceremony June 2. Tracy is the Unsung Hero for the 2nd Fighter Training Squadron. Tracy credits his success in life to his parents, and is motivated by his love of his son. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

Airman 1st Class Ian Tracy stands at attention during a change of command ceremony June 2. Tracy is the Unsung Hero for the 2nd Fighter Training Squadron. Tracy credits his success in life to his parents, and is motivated by his love of his son. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Stress can be a major roadblock in one’s life, a barrier that can make or break any endeavor.

For an Airman with the 2nd Fighter Training Squadron at Tyndall, learning to manage stress led him down a happier path.

Airman 1st Class Ian Tracy enlisted in the Air Force in 2014 as an air traffic controller. After making it through technical training at Keesler AFB, Miss., and landing here for his first assignment, life began throwing curve balls.

While going through training, life seemed to hit Tracy full force. With a stressful job like ATC, coupled with a failing marriage and experiencing the birth of his son, Tracy needed a change.

“Air traffic just wasn’t a good fit for me at that time,” said Tracy. “So I went to my chief controller and he helped me make a change.”

The chief controller noted that Tracy was a good Airman and he could still do great things for the Air Force, so Tracy got the chance to retrain.

“I spent a few months working with the [325th Operations Support Squadron] program coordinator until I finally got my orders to reclass,” said Tracy.

Tracy reclassed into administration. After returning from technical school, he went to work for the 2nd FTS commander.

“This is an amazing squadron,” he said of his squadron, affectionately known as the American Beagles. “Being on the commander’s support staff, I get to see what it takes to run a squadron and I get the insight of working directly with the commander.”

Tracy was able to cut back on the stress of work, and spend more time focused on his son, Wyatt.

“Once I leave the doors here, work is something I can completely forget about,” Tracy said. “In this job, I can leave everything at the door and be stress free at home.”

Tracy’s experience has taught him to treasure the time he gets with his son.

“Being a single dad has its challenges,” Tracy said, “but it’s worth it. When you have a kid, it teaches you to not be so self-centered. It teaches you to care for someone else. Watching him grow and learn about new things, it’s just amazing to see the transition as he grows.”

Though his Air Force plans changed, Tracy has adapted new goals and set high hopes for the future.

“My goal now is working toward getting my commission,” Tracy said. “I am close to getting my Community College of the Air Force degree, then I hope to start my bachelors program. From there, I would like to put in a package for officer training school.”

With his goals set for the future, Tracy attributes his present success to his parents.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without my parents,” Tracy said. “I don’t know if I had a hero as a child, but looking back now it’s obvious. They have always been supportive and given me guidance over the years.”

For his peers and fellow Airmen, Tracy had some life tips to offer.

“You need a good work and home life balance,” he said. “You also need to set goals and have a dream, and find the mentors in the Air Force that can help you succeed. They can help you reach your goals and follow your dreams.”

His commander, Lt. Col. Richard McCurdy, said Tracy’s work ethic and positive attitude has had a big impact on the effectiveness of the squadron.

“Something I tell everyone in the squadron is that if you know your job, work hard and have a great attitude, you will be successful, both in the Air Force and in life,” McCurdy said. “Airman Tracy exemplifies that every day. A lot of the work he does is behind the scenes, and there is no way the squadron could function without him. He truly is an unsung hero for the American Beagles.”