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Sgt. Jackson is one of Call of Duty 4's two playable characters, the other being Sgt. "Soap" MacTavish. He makes his debut in the mission Charlie Don't Surf, as a member of the U.S. Marine Force Recon under the command of Lt. Vasquez. As his introductory level begins with him being airlifted into a coastal city in a Middle Eastern country, his squad's objective is to locate and capture Khaled Al-Asad, the nation's militant leader. After being directed to a TV station where he is supposedly broadcasting a live message, they storm the building and fight through numerous enemies, though the live broadcast is revealed to be a hoax. Presumably that night, Jackson and the Marines proceed to rescue and escort an M1 Abrams tank through hostile territory while making a push deeper into the city. The next day, Vasquez's men are airlifted toward the capital to rescue another squad which is pinned down by Al-Asad's soldiers. Sergeant Jackson provides support by manning the helicopter's grenade launcher and destroying anti-air emplacements along the way. They land and extract the other squad, then are informed of a nuclear device in the area and ordered to evacuate along with the rest of the U.S. forces.
On their way back, a friendly Cobra pilot is shot down, and Lt. Vazquez orders a rescue. Having landed, Jackson carries the injured pilot through a torrent of enemy fire back to the helicopter. Once back in the air, they resume their evacuation, only to see the device detonate behind them. The resulting shock wave impacts the helicopter and causes it to spin wildly. Jackson watches as a crewman flies out of the rear opening, and shortly afterward the chopper crashes. Sgt. Jackson later regains consciousness, and is apparently the only person who survived the crash. He is very weak and slowly crawls out of the downed bird. The fall injures him even more, and is only able to walk a short distance through the mess of debris. Eventually, he succumbs to the fatal mixture of wounds and severe radiation, collapses to the ground, and dies.