|This article, James McHenry, was written by Spartan 501. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
Four Star Admiral James McHenry was a UNSC Shortsword Bomber pilot and later a shipboard captain, then Vice Admiral, who served the UNSC with distinction, and who was one of the few UNSC POWs to come out of Covenant hands.
James McHenry was born to a UNSC Admiral and a businesswoman on Reach. As a child, he expressed a want to join the military, which his father encouraged but mother fought. He was born in 2525, near the beginning of the Great War, and as a result, he would sometimes not see his father for months, and occasionally years, at a time. His father served aboard a Reach defense fleet until James was 11, but was transferred when he was 12 to an offensive unit. This unit was deployed to defend inner colony worlds on numerous occasions, and James saw little of his father during this time, and instead was cared for by his mother. When James was 16, his father was retransferred to the UNSC fleet above Reach, and for a year, James saw his father almost every weekend.
When James was 17, the UNSC, in need of pilots due to recent casualties, lowered the voluntary enlistment age to 17. All his life, James had dreamed of joining the military and someday becoming a legend like his father, and he enlisted almost immediately after the age limit dropped, much to his mother's dismay. James moved to Earth for a year, and was stationed on Luna, were he became a pilot of a Shortsword bomber. He trained for a year at the UNSC Flight Instruction Academy, with the rank of ensign, and earned a reputation among other recruits as a partying man. After a year at the academy, James graduated with honors, and joined the UNSC 14th Naval Squadron, a Shortsword unit operating out of the UNSC Carrier Rough and Tumble.
In 2543 through 2545, James participated in seven major battles, along with a three lesser skirmishes. His squadron was called in by ground forces as close air support, using delayed detonation missiles to carpet bomb specific enemy areas, and support units in the field. In the two years in the squadron, James proved himself as a capable pilot, with a knack for doing exactly what the ground forces who called him in expected, and more. He was described on occasion as fearless during battle, willing to brave anti-aircraft fire to help the marines on the ground who needed his help. During his time in the 14th, James befriended several other pilots, and struck up a brief romance with his wingmate, a young pilot named Angelina Riley. However, the romance was cut down after only six months, when James was transferred out of the 14th and into a new unit, the 154th, a heavy combat unit with a history of being sent on high-casualty missions, and a reputation of skill and expertise.
When flying with the 154th, James was at first what he described as "blown out of the water". He was not as skilled a pilot as the others who flew in the unit, and was commonly associated as the "weak link" of the squadron, and as a result made few friends. James served until 2545 to 2548, and in three years with the squadron, he saw 33 major battles and 17 minor skirmishes against the Covenant, along with 3 rebel confrontations, a huge step up from his last unit. During his time with the unit, James grew frustrated with the UNSC HIGHCOMM, who seemed to lack any knowledge of what the limits of a Shortsword squadron was. His squad mates shared a similar mindset.
During his tour of duty, James was shot down twice, both times against the Covenant. Fortunately, he survived each crash, and both times was rescued by other UNSC forces. On the first occasion, he was saved by a marine squad, but on the second, he was saved by a member of the 112th Naval Squadron, which spurred a respect for the legendary unit that was backed by something other than hero-worship. In 2547, James' father was deployed to the front lines once more, and was killed in his second battle. James struggled with grief and anger, which took him out of duty for three weeks, before his squadron leader made the UNSC command get him back on duty. After this brief period, James rejoined the squadron, and served continually with it.
In August of 2548, James was serving with the 154th when he was deployed to a planet named Taidan III, on which a covenant assault had been launched. In an especially risky maneuver, James' superiors ordered him to launch a low altitude run against a large covenant force, which included several anti-air units, who had surrounded a small marine force trapped in a valley. James was shot down and crashed, injuring himself badly. He was then captured by Covenant forces, who took him away. The Covenant troops then proceeded to crush the UNSC forces in the area, and glassed the planet. James was taken to a Covenant prison camp, and was became of of the rare human POWs of the war. He was regularly tortured, and forced to participate in gladiatorial like games for sport. He barely survived these, and after two years, he was deemed worthless, and had his execution mandated.
However, greedy Kig-Yar slavers stole him before he could be executed, and enslaved him for another three and a half years. He performed manual labor on a Kig-Yar missionary vessel, as was badly treated by the crew. He received horrible injuries at the hands of his captors, permanently limiting his range of motions. After earth was successfully defended by the humans and the Prophet of Truth was slain, the ship carrying James fled to Dosiac, just in time to be defeated. Midway through the battle, James realized what was happening, and attempted to escape. The attempt was not successful, but he was able to send a signal to a local UNSC warship that he was onboard, and keep them from destroying the craft.
During the battle, the Kig-Yar craft was disabled by UNSC fighter squadrons, and boarded by elite EABT soldiers, who freed him. He was then evacuated to the nearest UNSC ship, where he was greeted and promptly given medical treatment, then a debriefing. After the battle was over, James slipped into unconsciousness, and was transported back to Earth. On the way back, James awoke, and found that the ship he had been evacuated to was his first duty station, the Carrier Rough and Tumble.
On Earth, James enjoyed a leave of absence spanning two years. During this time, he underwent physical therapy and psychological treatment, to cope with the memories of his five and a half year long imprisonment. James finally returned to duty in 2555, acting as a UNSC cargo pilot, and flew supply ships to help with Project Rejuvenation. He served in this way for nine years, until 2564, then returned to his old role as a fighter bomber pilot. James was noted for occasional flashback moments by his peers, but these faded over time. For some time, it also seemed he had lost his nerve, and took very few risks. However, he gradually retained his old mindset, and while he was never and courageous as before, he became more and more willing to take chances in the cockpit.
Eventually, in 2568, he was transferred to a new unit. This unit however, was an old acquaintance of his: it was the 14th. His former romance, Angelina Riley, was now a Major and the squad leader, and he served as her wingman for 7 years. During this time, they were at first very shy, but over time, they became best friends, and then fell in love. They married in 2573, and Angelina had a child named James Junior in 2575 (who would later become a fighter pilot). After this, they became worried about them both being pilots. With a young child at home, they worried that they might leave behind an orphan if something were to happen. This prompted James to leave the squadron, and attend a naval officers academy, where he became a crew man of a capital ship.
Through the Ranks
After several years of duty aboard a frigate, James advanced to the rank of Commander in 2581. James, always good at astronavigation, became noted for stunning maneuvers, which prompted his superiors to promote him to the rank of Captain in 2584, after a good showing against a Remnant group. James grew to be a superior Captain, and by 2590, he was on track for a promotion. During the course of several battles against the Remnant, he proved himself to HIGHCOMM, and became a Rear Admiral, lower half, being promoted a pay grade in what some challenged as favoritism by UNSC command. In a brief leave between his next tour, James and Angelina had another child, named Doug, who would later serve with the UNSC marines, enlisting at 17 in 2607.
As a one star admiral, James was put in command of half the UNSC Battlegroup Liberator, and reported to Full Admiral Jacob Orion, who served as the overall commander. During a tour of duty spanning eight years, from 2590 to 2598, he gained the respect of his men for his frank informal manner and respect of the risks he had them take. He also gained the admiration of Orion, who noted "In many ways he is a better commander than I am, though he is indeed a tad informal."
After the eight year tour he served in was a success, James was promoted to Rear Admiral, Upper Class and put in charge of his own, smaller, battle group, Taskforce Arrow, group consisting of a single Odin-class Carrier (his flagship), two Baal-class Destroyers, three Heimdall-class Frigates, and a single freshly minted Minerva-class Prowler. This group served under his command for 3 years, and served with only a single casualty, despite taking part in seven skirmishes. In his first year of command, James and Angelina had a third child, Jack, who would later enroll in the Navy like his father, but as a EVAT soldier. After James proved he could operate large groups of ship efficiently, he was promoted to a Vice Admiral, and kept his Battlegroup. He served an additional five years, and in 2606, he was promoted to a Full Admiral.
Four Star Admiral
His group was stationed at Gundark as part of the defenses there, but his flagship was replaced with a Sol-class Command Carrier, and was reinforced with four more Heimdall-class Frigates (one of which replaced the group single casualty), and two more Baal-class Destroyers, and even a pair of Thor-class Cruisers. During his time above Gundark, James had his home moved to the planet, and his now retired wife followed, but would usually stay aboard the fleet, which he authorized under the pretext that her military experience was valuable. It is believed he took part in the defense of Kanna.
James served with distinction until 2615, when health problems began affecting him. He was 90 chronologically, but he and his wife were both closer to 70, due to excessive cryo. After an awards ceremony, James retired from command, his fleet scattering.
James retired on Gundark, and lived relatively peacefully. However, on January 13th, 2620, a group of robbers attacked a bank he was withdrawing money from. He attempted to stop them, using a personal and ancient M6D pistol, and wounded two robbers. However, he was shot in the process, and died before help could arrive.
After his death, James’ legacy persisted in the form of his three children. While his wife died of old age in 2622, partly due to grief at his own death, each of his children served in the military, and led good lives. His firstborn, James, flew jets for the navy, and lived through the Necros war. Their second son, Doug, became a UNSC marine, and enlisted during the battle of Kanna, becoming a soldier after the battle was over but never progressing through the ranks. Their third son, Jack, enlisted in the military early, at 16, which his father turned a blind eye to. He became an elite EVAT soldier, and became a war hero against the Necros at a young age.