Sergeant Major Avery J. Johnson (voiced by David Scully) is a Marine, who leads the human forces against Covenant and Flood assaults throughout the Halo series. Introduced in Halo: Combat Evolved, Johnson survives the destruction of Installation 04, aka "Halo", and is rescued by Cortana and the Master Chief during the novel Halo: First Strike.
In Halo 2, he is awarded the Colonial Cross for his heroic actions on Halo, and plays a much larger role by joining forces with the Arbiter to stop Tartarus from activating Installation 05, Delta Halo.
In Halo 3, he leads Marine forces through the mysterious Portal to make sure the Prophet of Truth does not succeed in wiping out all life. Johnson is killed by 343 Guilty Spark when trying to activate the uncompleted spare Halo at the Ark.
Johnson also has a cameo in the final cutscene of Halo 3: ODST, and is playable in that game's Firefight mode.
Johnson was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He was enlisted in the UNSC Marine Corps when he was nineteen and fought in the Insurrection (civil war fought between the UNSC and rebels).
He is an expert marksman, even attending the Naval Special Warfare Sniper School, and serving as a sniper on many black operations during the insurrection. He was in the first; Project: SPARTAN-I, however not much is known about this first generation of warriors.
Johnson is also the only human seen to survive a Flood infestation, due to a pre-existing medical condition, known as Boren's Syndrome; a condition that grants immunity to the Flood at the cost of mental instability. Boren's syndrome is caused from high exposure from plasma grenades.
He is the main character featured in the Halo Graphic Novel story, "Breaking Quarantine" which details Johnson's escape from the Flood in Halo: Combat Evolved, and the main protagonist in the novel Halo: Contact Harvest. In chronological order, his major appearances are as follows:
- Halo: Contact Harvest
- Halo: The Fall of Reach
- Halo: Combat Evolved/Halo: The Flood
- Halo: First Strike
- Halo 2
- Halo 3: ODST
- Halo 3
Halo: Combat Evolved
He was on the Pillar of Autumn, when they came across Halo Installation 04. The Covenant, too scared to damage the ring world, began boarding Autumn in space. On board, Johnson helped defend the Pillar of Autumn from the invading Covenant troops, but like everyone else, was forced to abandon ship.
Johnson successfully landed on the ring. However, they were attacked by the Covenant and his platoon was scattered all over the valley. Johnson and Fire Team Charlie were evacuated, until they joined a mission led by Captain Keyes. Johnson met up with Polaski, Lieutenant Haverson, Corporal Locklear after escaping the destruction of the ring in a Pelican, moments before it collapsed.
Back on Earth, Johnson was promoted to Sergeant Major and was awarded the Colonial Cross for his actions on Halo.
Johnson aided the defense of the Cairo along with Master chief, as the Covenant fleet attack Earth. Johnson joined Commander Miranda Keyes on board the UNSC Frigate In Amber Clad. As they arrived on the surface, Johnson led the Pelicans into battle but they were shot down by a Covenant Scarab before they were able to reach the ship carrying the High Prophet of Regret. After the destruction of the Scarab, Johnson picked up the Chief and brought him back into In Amber Clad, just as the massive Covenant ship took off into Slipspace.
On Delta Halo, they discover that Regret had planned to activate Halo. Johnson and a group of his best Marines joined Keyes on a search for the Index. Johnson helped Miranda grab the key, but they were attacked by the Arbiter and captured by the Brute Chieftain, Tartarus. Johnson escaped; joined the Arbiter and they both agreed that Tartarus needed to be stopped. Together they challenged Tartarus and therefore, allowing Miranda to grab the Index and stop Halo from firing.
When Master Chief crash-landed on Earth, he was met by Johnson and the Arbiter. After some heavy fighting, Master Chief, Johnson and the Arbiter were evacuated and taken to a UNSC base, codenamed "Crow's Nest" deep underground in the African jungle. He and the Arbiter stayed behind to defend the ops center from Covenant attacks, but after a lengthy battle, he was forced to fall back.
Johnson warned Master Chief that the Covenant had uncovered the Ark and that John need to get to it. He helped the Master Chief by dropping off Warthogs to aid the Chief and Marines in breaking through. However, Johnson remained on the Pelican for most of the Battle of Voi.
On the Ark, he helped Master Chief secure a landing zone and stop the construction of an AA battery. He then went on to command the second squad in taking down the third shield barrier tower that was protecting Truth in the Citadel. There, he was captured by Jiralhanae forces and Prophet of Truth attempted to use him to activate the Ark. Miranda attempted to rescue him when Johnson told her that the only option to stop activation was for her to shoot him. She hesitated and was shot in the back by Truth seven times. Johnson was rescued by Master Chief and the Arbiter, along with the Flood. However, after Truth was killed, the Flood turned on the trio. Johnson managed to escape on Miranda's Pelican, taking her body with him, but the Chief and Arbiter were knocked off of the Pelican by Gravemind and forced to fight the Flood. Back on Halo Installation 04, he helped Master Chief fight through the Flood in order to reach the control room. It was here that Johnson attempts to activate the ring but is mortally wounded by 343 Guilty Spark before he can do so. After the destruction of 343 Guilty Spark, Johnson tells his last words to the Master Chief to never let go of Cortana and to send him "out with a bang" before the Chief leaves the control room and the installation itself. At the memorial site back on Earth, he was posthumously awarded the prestigious Congressional Medal of Honor.
- Operation: KALEIDOSCOPE
- Operation: TANGLEWOOD
- Operation: TREBUCHET
- Human-Covenant War
- First Battle of Harvest
- Siege of Paris IV
- Battle of Reach
- Installation 04
- Operation: First Strike
- Battle of Earth
- New Mombasa
- Installation 05
- Second Battle of Earth
- Battle of Voi
- Installation 00
- Installation 04 (incomplete Halo)
Halo: Combat Evolved
Players who were able to beat Halo: Combat Evolved on Legendary were treated to an extended version of the "escape" cutscene. As the Master Chief escapes the exploding Halo, the camera cuts to a scene of Sergeant Johnson and an Elite fighting over an Assault Rife. They stop as the Pillar of Autumn begins to explode. Johnson turns to the Elite and says, "This is it, baby. Hold me," and they hug. This is not considered canon as he would have died in the explosion in this scenario, as opposed to the escape as described in the novel Halo: First Strike. In the original game's Legendary cutscene, just before they're destroyed by the explosion, the Elite gropes Johnson's butt, while the same cutscene in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary has been altered so that Johnson instead gropes the Elite, who reacts with surprise.
- Home World: Chicago, United States, Earth
- Date Of Birth: September 22, Circa 2470
- Date Of Death: November 3, 2552 (age 82, thanks to long periods spent in cryo-stasis; roughly in his mid-to-late-forties physically)
- Weight: 185lbs
- Height: 6'4
- Hair Color: Black
- Eye Color: Brown