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Lieutenant Colonel John Robert "Jack" Churchill, DSO and Bar, MC and Bar, nicknamed "Fightin' Jack" or "Mad Jack" was a Scottish-born UNSC Army ODST who famously fought in the First Great War using a longbow, arrows, and his officer's sword. His reasoning for this was; "any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed."
Born in 2500 in Edinburgh to Scottish parents and educated at George Heriot's School and the University of St Andrews, Churchill graduated from Sandhurst in 2523. He served in the Epsilon Eridani System with the Black Watch after it was called up by the UNSC Army for anti-terrorist duties on Tribute. He was Mentioned in Despatches after leading his platoon to capture an Insurrectionist-dominated village. At the end of his tour, he was promoted to Captain. While on leave, he used his archery and bagpipe talents to play a small role in a remake of the film Braveheart, which was universally despised by critics and audiences.
- "Why do you want to join the ODSTs, young man?
It sounds dangerous, sir."
- ―A UNSC Special Forces recruiting officer and Churchill in 2524, regarding Churchill's resoning for joining the ODSTs.
After hearing of the United Rebel Front's destruction of the National Holiday, Churchill knew that the campaign was about to be taken up a notch, and was determined to get into the thick of things. He signed up for ODST duty in the Parachute Regiment, subordinate to the UNSC Army Special Operations Command. Despite the glorification of the ODSTs in video games, films, and T.V series, Churchill had little idea of what their actual roles were, but signed up because it sounded dangerous.
After the Covenant's attack on Harvest, Operation: TREBUCHET was rapidly cut short and the Paras were deployed with Preston J. Cole's Task Force Harvest. The Paras were the first UNSC unit to see action in the Harvest Campaign, and Churchill's platoon ambushed a Covenant patrol near the ruins of Utgard. Churchill gave the signal to attack by cutting down a Sangheili Major with his barbed arrows, becoming the only known UNSC soldier to have felled an enemy with a longbow in the course of the war. Shortly afterwards, he and his platoon destroyed a battery of Covenant artillery to clear the way for the rest of the Expeditionary Force as it moved up on the Covenant-occupied Utgard. He and three other men were awarded the Silver Star for this action, and six other men in his platoon recieved the Bronze Star. As a member of the British Army, Churchill also recieved the Distinguished Service Order. Two days later, his unit and the rest of the Regiment moved up and took the town of Dellingr, before being rotated off the front lines and spending two weeks R&R in Utgard.
While preparing for a drop behind Covenant lines on Harvest, a new Covenant fleet arrived in the system and totally glassed all the territory that the UNSC had managed to capture. The Paras managed to escape, but Churchill was badly burned in the left leg and arm by Sangheili plasma while supervising the evacuation. Despite being told he would need six weeks in a hospital bed, Churchill managed to talk his way out of the UNSC Prophecy's sick bay after just three and rejoined his unit on Harvest's surface, where a stalemate had developed between the UNSC and Covenant forces.
Promoted to Major, Churchill was second-in-command of 2nd Battalion during Operation: BLOWPIPE in 2531, an orbital drop behind enemy lines on Harvest's north pole aimed at capturing Covenant computer systems. The battalion moved towards a small Covenant firebase, and during the assault, Churchill leapt forward from his position playing The March of the Cameron Men on bagpipes, threw a grenade, and began running towards the base. The information captured confirmed that the Covenant were looking for a Forerunner artefact under Harvest's north pole, but before they could be extracted, a new, much larger Covenant force arrived in the system and discovered the Forerunner structure under the ice. UNSC resistance was almost completely destroyed, and Churchill and his men had to wait three days in enemy territory before reinforcements in the form of the UNSC Spirit of Fire arrived. He later participated in the assault on the Relic. For his actions, Churchill received his second Distinguished Service Order.
Because of the intense combat they had experienced, many of the units that fought at Harvest were rotated away from the front lines for extended leave, and in some cases counselling. The Paras spent a few years off the front lines on Jericho VII, at the time a mid-range supply base for Cole's Outer Colonies Campaign, training new recruits and conscripts with the experience they had picked up on Harvest. Despite projecting an image of invincible toughness to the recruits and to each other, the ODSTs, Churchill included, had no desire to go back into the fight. Due to the hundreds of combat divisions that the UNSC had managed gather via conscription, they had an excuse to remain off the front lines, but could not stay out of the war forever. When the Covenant invaded Jericho VII on February 10th, 2535, the Paras found themselves back on the front line.
Churchill and his company were dropped behind enemy lines by the UNSC Resolute to destroy methane supply tanks, thereby depriving the invading Covenant army of thousands of Unggoy soldiers, with Churchill bringing his longbow, arrows, and officer's sword with him. Churchill and his men patrolled to the Covenant camp, and, under cover of darkness and wearing a ghillie suit, Churchill crawled up to the Sangheili sentries and stabbed both of them through the chest with his officer's sword. He then shot a lone Kig-yar sniper with his longbow, and led the company's charge into the camp, destroying the Covenant AA emplacements and planting an infrared strobe for the methane tanks to be targeted by AV-20 Skyhawk III jump jets. They were extracted by Pelican the next morning. Churchill was later awarded the Military Cross. Unfortunately, despite a valiant defence by the fleet, the UNSC lost control of the space surrounding Jericho VII and were forced to retreat, despite winning the ground battle. Churchill and his men were extracted and the Covenant glassed Jericho VII.
The Parachute Regiment was one of many units deployed on Paris IV to supervise the evacuation of civilians after the UNSC learnt of the Covenant's planned invasion in 2549. However, midway through the evacuation, the Covenant fleet arrived earlier than anticipated and five hundred civilians were trapped in the strategic crossroads city of New Bastogne (three of the five roads leading out of New Bastogne led to the tether cities being used by the UNSC as evacuation sites). The UNSC commander ordered the Paras to hold the town at all costs until armoured personnel carriers could arrive to rescue the civilians. Despite being completely surrounded, Major Churchill and his company were able to inflict an incredibly lopsided loss ratio on the Covenant forces by making sorties behind their lines, destroying key targets such as methane tanks, communication nodes and plasma batteries, and then retreating and drawing the furious pursuing forces into an artillery ambush. Five days after the Covenant arrived, the UNSC Army's 303rd Cavalry Brigade was able to break through Covenant lines and rescue the Paras and the civilians.
At the primary evacuation complex in New Paris, the UNSC forces were rapidly running out of ammunition, and were resorting to using captured Covenant weapons and bayonets. Churchill and his men waited until the Covenant forces got into near-point blank range, before using all their remaining small arms ammunition in a carefully aimed salvo targeted at the Sangheili and Jiralhanae commanders. The Paras fought with a group of Marines led by Sergeant Avery Junior Johnson, who captured a crate of Covenant plasma grenades and used every single one of them against the advancing Covenant forces. Churchill then used his longbow to pick off any remaining Sangheili or Jiralhanae, before making a bayonet charge against the survivors, covered by an artillery barrage and picking off the remaining Unggoy and Kig-Yar soldiers, giving enough time for the evacuation ships to leave and get into orbit. In the process, Churchill was slashed across the side of his face by a Jiralhanae, leaving three long cuts that would leave distinctive scars. After being evacuated on the last transport, Churchill was awarded his second Military Cross and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
- "Men, on the other side of this bridge are five million men, women and children who need evacuation. The Covenant would kill all of them, but only if they cross this bridge! We are five hundred men, against fifty thousand Covenant, but we are Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, and this bridge is ours! We claim it as our own! They shall not pass!"
- ―Churchill to the two companies of 2 Para under his command during the defence of Westminster Bridge in London during the Battle of Earth.
Operation: DIVINE SON
Churchill married his wife, Jessica Charlotte Hart in 2551 after pursuing a relationship with her for several months. Hart was a war correspondant for The Daily Telegraph whom he had met after she was embedded in his unit. Though Churchill tried to convince her to leave such a dangerous profession, she remained with the unit until she discovered she was pregnant in early 2552. The two of them had a son, though he was born after Churchill's death, and was named John in his memory. Jessica Churchill read the eulogy at Churchill's funeral.
A voracious reader, Churchill could discourse on both contemporary and classical literature. His skill at mathematics made him both an adept navigator and an extremely talented Whist player. He regularly used his ability at Whist to supplement his income, and he enjoyed other games that tested his wits and sharpened his mind.
Churchill was an extremely skilled archer and fencer and was adept in a number of styles. He had a taste for antique weapons, and owned numerous flintlocks, muskets, swords, and 20th Century weapons, through the basket-hilted claymore he carried was a modern design issued to him when he served in the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
- Distinguished Service Order and Bar
- Silver Star with oak leaf cluster
- Military Cross and Bar
- Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster
- Mentioned in Despatches
Behind the Scenes
This article was heavily inspired by Lieutenant Colonel Jack Churchill, a World War II British soldier who famously fought using a longbow and claymore throughout the war. Another inspiration was Major Richard Winters, the American commander of Easy Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division in World War II, who died in January 2010. He was portrayed by Damian Lewis in Band of Brothers. The main image is that of Colonel Miles Quaritch from Avatar.