Sam Dryden is a house builder.
At least he becomes one as the series gets underway. It is how he earns a modest living and keeps his mind and body busy so he does not have to think too much of a terrible accident that years before claimed his wife and child. It ended his idyllic situation and left him with little to look forward to and less to care about. That will change somewhat as the adventures unfold but as they start, he has no great interest in anything.
That was not always the case. Before meeting his wife and settling down with her to start a family, he had a lot of interesting things to think about, though talking about them would violate quite a few security laws. His past was filled with a considerable amount of excitement and challenges and he loved it a great deal. It would only be a stronger love for his wife that would take him from it.
Straight out of high school, Dryden joined the Army to find action and a challenge. He found both when he was accepted into the prestigious Airborne Rangers and then a bit later, the even more selective Delta. The training he got was impressive and varied, from how to survive in any wilderness to how to HALO jump into those same remote areas and get out again. He was truly one of the best of the best.
That is where his official record goes very dark for a fair number of years. There is no record of what he did and who he di did it for, although since the record was the American Intelligence community, there is no doubt who was behind his activity. From age 24 to 30, he did whatever it was that no one talked about.
Then he met his wife, found more important things to do, and was happy. He got a teaching degree and a job doing that. Then his wife and child die in a car crash and he dies inside. He gives up his job. He takes a few low-rent security jobs to occupy his time. He survives, and that is about all. Five years of survival will pass before life presents challenges to bring him back from limbo.
These challenges will be stunning in complexity and strangeness and will task his talents to their fullest. They will also challenge the reader with incredible speculation of what-if and boy-I-hope-not.