“I’ve always felt a sense of Texas being my home,” Army veteran and Texas native Chris Herndon says when reflecting about why he loves the Lone Star state.
After serving in the Army for approximately fourteen years, the Texas veteran now works as an active police officer in Georgetown, where he lives with his wife and cavalier king charles spaniel, Charlie, who he describes as “the most spoiled dog in America.”
Before going on active duty in the Army, Herndon says he “grew up in Dallas and attended Jesuit College Preparatory School,” before attending Texas State University on an ROTC scholarship.
After graduation, Herndon promptly deployed with the United States Army as a second lieutenant in 1990 during Desert Storm, where he primarily served in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
In 1992, Herndon went off active duty as a first lieutenant after serving in various leadership capacities and joined the Army Reserves, where he spent another ten years and served in an engineer unit in the Austin area.
Upon leaving the Reserves, Herndon retired as a captain after approximately fourteen years.
Though he says he cannot give specifics, he currently works as an active police officer in the Austin area, where he manages training, teaches license-to-carry handgun classes, and educates police officers on active shooter incidents.
What kind of work have you done throughout your career?
“Most of my background is in law enforcement training,” Herndon says, which include teaching about topics like “arrest, search, and seizure, defensive tactics, emergency vehicle driving, firearms, patrol rifle, and physical fitness” among other things.
During his time in public service, Herndon has had the opportunity to travel to a number of exotic places all over the world, including Egypt, Ireland, England, and even Micronesia.
Though he says his time in Egypt was his favorite, Herndon reflects on his time in Micronesia with great fondness, having traveled there twice to train and teach police officers about a number of different police tactics.
Describing the experience as unique, he says, “We were training people who – even though their justice system mirrored ours – was still in its infancy.”
What was the most difficult place you served?
Without pause, Herndon says the most challenging place he served was in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Desert Storm.
When asked about his time in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Herndon described his particular experience as “pretty unique” because of the assignment and duties of his Army unit which was attached to a Marine Corps unit.
“I had never worked with another service before, so not only was it unique working with another service but working with another service in a wartime environment was a pretty eye-opening experience.”
Herndon continued by saying, “That was really my first exposure to working with foreign troops as well.”
While the environment and assignment were challenging, the Texas veteran described his time in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as incredibly challenging on a personal level as well.
“We lived in a pretty austere environment… we didn’t have the communications that we have now, like email and telephone service, so it was primarily a letter-writing campaign. I’d been married for about three months when I went, so I was a newlywed and then immediately gone.”
Did you always know that public service was something in which you were interested?
“Yeah, actually, I was a police explorer in high school in Dallas,” Herndon says.
After going to college on an ROTC scholarship, serving in the Army on both active duty and in the reserve, and now as a police officer, he adds, “So yeah, I’ve essentially been in public service my whole career.”
What have you noticed has changed most during your time in public service at both the federal and the local level?
To this question, the Army veteran says the biggest thing he’s noticed across the spectrum is how much “better” the “training has gotten” for law enforcement officials.
Additionally, he says that during his time serving at both levels of government he has seen a vast improvement in professionalism and the quality of candidates, who are placing a serious emphasis on seeing “it as a profession” and “making it better” in the process.
What do you like most about living in Texas and what does being a Texan mean to you?
To this question, Herndon has a long list of reasons he loves the Lone Star state, even describing it as “the greatest state in the Union.”
“From my perspective, I think we have the most sense of pride for a state,” the Texas veteran says.
Additionally, he adds that he loves the weather, the rich history, the “great economy,” and more than anything, he says Texas has “really good people who live here.”
Echoing a sentiment many Texans readily understand, Herndon adds, “I’ve never really experienced the same sense of friendliness as I have in Texas.”
Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.