Jack Ryan was born in Baltimore in 1950 and grew up there, son of a city police detective and a nurse, and attended at Loyola. He earned an NROTC commission in the U.S. Marines at Boston College. Medically discharged at the rank of 2nd Lieutenant following a helicopter crash in Greece, he worked as an investment broker briefly and made a fortune. He met and married Caroline "Cathy" Mueller, a medical student and later an ophthalmic/eye surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, with whom he had four children. He returned to academia, eventually accepting a position as a history professor at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.
He was later recommended to the CIA, eventually spending a short period there writing a position paper, as well as developing a counter-espionage mechanism. He returned to the Academy and, while on a history research trip to London, interrupted a kidnapping attempt on the royal family. After his return to the States, he eventually accepted a position with the CIA as a protege of Admiral Jim Greer, deputy director. He rose rapidly through the ranks in a variety of covert operations against the USSR, eventually becoming a Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. As DDI, he fought numerous political battles that eventually led to him becoming briefly first National Security Advisor, followed by a short period as Vice President, before then suddenly President of the United States after a terrorist plane crashing into the U.S. Capitol. Ryan eventually served two non-consecutive terms and mostly dealt with international crises in Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific.
Ryan had his background established in Patriot Games and Red Rabbit. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1950, the son of Emmet William Ryan (1922–1974), a Baltimore City Police Department homicide lieutenant, and World War II veteran. The elder Ryan had served with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division at the Battle of the Bulge in western Europe. His mother, Catherine Burke Ryan (1923–1974), was a nurse. Without Remorse mentioned that he had a sister, who lived in Seattle.
After graduating from Loyola High School (now Loyola Blakefield), a Roman Catholic Jesuit prep school in Towson, Maryland in suburban Baltimore County, Ryan attended Boston College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics (with a strong minor in history) and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps (via Officer Candidate School). While waiting for the Corps to assign him, he passed the Certified Public Accountant exam.
After officer training at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, he went on to serve briefly as a Marine infantry Platoon leader. However, his military career was cut short at the age of 23 when his platoon's helicopter, a CH-46 Sea Knight, crashed during a North Atlantic Treaty Organization exercise over the Greek island of Crete. The crash badly injured Ryan's back. U.S. Navy surgeons, at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, inadequately repaired his back. This led to a lengthy recovery process (during which he nearly became addicted to pain medications) after which, complete with a permanent disability and wearing a back brace, he left the Marines. He passed his stockbroker's exam and took a position with Wall Street investment firm Merrill Lynch's Baltimore office.