"They let me pick. Did I ever tell you that? Choose whichever Spartan I wanted. You know me. I did my research. Watched as you became the soldier we needed you to be. Like the others, you were strong and swift and brave. A natural leader. But you had something they didn't. Something no one saw, but me. Can you guess...? Luck."

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, John-117, is a SPARTAN-II Commando of the UNSC Naval Special Warfare Command. He served as one of the most important figures of the Human-Covenant War. With nearly 30 years of active duty, he is one of the most decorated soldiers in the United Nations Space Command and has earned every known medal in the UNSC except the Prisoner of War Medallion. In 2553, John-117 went missing in action after the Battle of Installation 00 when he and the current Arbiter Thel 'Vadam stopped (or slowed as the Gravemind had said) the Flood threat.[3]

He is the protagonist and main playable character in Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Halo 3. In the actual Halo games, John is only ever referred to by name once, by Cortana, in the ending cutscene of Halo 3 before the credits. He is referred to universally by humans simply as the "Master Chief", "Chief" for short and "Sierra-117". The Covenant is aware of the power of the Spartans, and refer to the Master Chief as "the Demon". Meanwhile, John is referred to as "Reclaimer" by both 343 Guilty Spark and 2401 Penitent Tangent, although this seems to be a universal title given to all humans, rather than specifically referring to John-117.


Childhood and Spartan TrainingEdit

Born in about 2511, John lived with his mother and father in Elysium City, on the colony world of Eridanus II. He attended to the Elysium City Primary Education Facility Number 119. As a child, John had brown hair, freckles, and a small gap between his front teeth. In a memory, John recalled that his mother was "kind and smelled of soap."[4] At the age of six, he was identified by Dr. Halsey as one of 150 preliminary candidates for the SPARTAN-II Program. John was an ideal physical and mental candidate, standing a head taller than the majority of his schoolmates, having greater physical proportions, possessing strength, exhibiting reflexes, and having an aggressive drive for success. When Dr. Halsey and Lieutenant Jacob Keyes visited Eridanus II in 2517 to study him, they were impressed with his intellect and luck. In a final test of his viability as a candidate, he was asked to determine which side an old coin would land on. He watched the coin as it flew in the air and caught it before it could land; correctly stating which side was face-up, on the side of the eagle. Later that same year, John and 74 other six-year-old children were "conscripted", covertly kidnapped from their homes and replaced with Flash Clones, all of which would later die of natural causes to cover up the kidnappings. John, along with the other candidates, was taken to Reach. Dr. Halsey informed them of the SPARTAN-II Program and how they would be the protectors of Earth and her colonies. The next morning John discovered his service tag, stitched into his training uniform, and his new name: John-117.

John began a new life, training with other Spartans under Chief Petty Officer Franklin Mendez. For eight years he learned history, military strategy, weapons, and was given physical fitness training. Early on, he bonded with Kelly and Sam, who would be the only close friends he would ever have.

When the Spartans were eight years old, they were sent on a training mission in which they were dropped over a forest located deep in one of Reach's snow-capped mountain ranges and expected to get safely to their extraction Pelican. The children also had instructions to leave the last child arriving behind, or the punishment would be painful, but John-117 knew that he could not do that. After telling the Spartans where to meet up, the Spartans looked to him as their leader, a role he was initially surprised to be given, but eventually accepted. When the group came upon the Pelican, it was guarded by armed men. Those men were actually UNSC Marines, but were not in uniform, and in addition to the fact that the Spartans may have never seen Marines before, therefore mistaken for a hostile threat. John showed early acumen in critical thinking and tactics, not wishing to take it for granted that guards would be friendly toward them. He came up with a plan to take the men down, capture the dropship, and ensure the safe extraction of every team member, as he made sure he was the last person aboard. To do this he ended up hijacking the dropship with the help of Déjà, and beat down the men with stones, causing severe injuries among the Marines. Chief Mendez was not visibly pleased, as John attacked his Marines and also, no one had been left behind. But both he and Dr. Halsey recognized John's initiative, and promoted him to Squad Leader. After this, despite the other Spartans rising in rank and at least a couple rising to lead their own teams, he remained the de facto leader of the Spartans as a whole.

At the age of 14, John underwent the dangerous process of SPARTAN-II Augmentation Procedures that caused almost half of the Spartan candidates to die, or be physically disabled. John was one of 33 Spartans who made it through the process unscathed, while the rest who could still operate were sent for jobs in the Office of Naval Intelligence. At only 14 years old, it is said that John had a body of an 18-year old Olympic athlete; the augmentation process gave the Spartans faster reflexes, greater strength, enhanced eyesight, and made their bones nearly unbreakable. Following their augmentation procedures, John and the other Spartans were transferred to the Atlas in order to recover in a microgravity environment. During his first visit to the Atlas gym, John was confronted by four ODSTs, whose Sergeant then ordered the five of them into the boxing ring. In the ensuing fight, John killed two of the ODSTs, and left the others severely injured. According to Major Antonio Silva, this incident was orchestrated by the Office of Naval Intelligence in order to test the Spartans' augmentations.

Early Military CareerEdit

John-117's first mission was against rebels in the asteroid belt of the Eridanus System, where his home world was located. He was shot in the side by live ammo while leading his squad to capture rebel leader Colonel Robert Watts, without heavily injuring him. He received a Purple Heart after this mission.

Three months after the Eridanus mission, John and his Spartans were briefed on the massacre that took place on Harvest shortly after first contact with the Covenant. A short time later, the UNSC Commonwealth, under the command of Captain Wallace, brought the Spartans and Dr. Halsey to the Damascus Testing Facility at Chi Ceti, where they received the MJOLNIR Mark IV Powered Assault Armor. When a Covenant ship attacked the Commonwealth, John and the SPARTAN-IIs took part in their first battle with the Covenant. The Spartans used thrusters to launch from a Pelican dropship. Each Spartan carried an ANVIL-II Air-to-Surface Missile with them to destroy the Covenant ship. Only two other Spartans made it to the ship with John: Samuel-034 and Kelly-087. They entered the ship through a hole in its hull, caused by a heavy MAC round from the Commonwealth. They succeeded in completing the mission and destroyed the Covenant ship, but due to a breach in Sam's armor, caused by retaliation fire from Covenant forces, he was unable to leave the Covenant ship. Volunteering to stay behind and ensure the destruction of the enemy vessel, Sam was killed in the ensuing explosion. John is affected profoundly at the loss of one of his friends. This UNSC victory against the Covenant showed John that the Covenant could be beaten, but at a very high cost. John and his remaining Spartans would fight the Covenant for the next 27 years, employing their MJOLNIR armor.

In 2535, John, along with Fred-104, Kelly-087, Solomon-069 and Arthur-079, was part of a mission to rescue Dr. Catherine Halsey from a Covenant fleet. The team utilized the Open Frame 92/Extra-Vehicular Activity, designed for space combat and infiltrated a Covenant Assault Carrier. Aboard the Assault Carrier, John encounters Major Domo Thel 'Vadamee for the first time when he challenges John to an Energy Sword duel. Thel is forced out of the duel when the Fleetmaster separates the lower section of the Assault Carrier to kill the Spartan, pulling 'Vadamee back into the upper section. They both left unscathed, and John would not come across Thel again for 17 years. The Spartans completed the mission and rescued Dr. Halsey, but Arthur and Solomon were killed. John was saddened by his teammates' deaths and vowed to be stronger and never let such a loss happen again.

John served in over 200 missions against the Covenant, including the Harvest Campaign, the Battle of Jericho VII, where he and a handful of Spartans single-handedly killed over a thousand Grunts, and the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV, in which John and his Blue Team detonated a HAVOK Nuclear Warhead to clear Covenant forces from the city of Côte d'Azur. This was one of only a few UNSC victories against the Covenant. He had received every medal the UNSC awards except for the Prisoner of War Medallion. He is also considered the luckiest and the bravest of the SPARTAN-IIs.

The Battle of Reach, though brief, was of great significance for John. This is where he received the MJOLNIR Mark V Powered Assault Armor that had been optimized for his Spartan augmented physiology. The majority of the Spartans went to the planet's surface to protect Orbital Defense Generators. John, with Linda and James, were sent to Reach Station Gamma to destroy an unsecured NAV database onboard the UNSC Circumference. If the Covenant obtained the database, they would discover the location of every human world, including Earth; the location of Earth by then was still a closely guarded secret. The NAV database was destroyed, but Linda and James were ambushed by Covenant Sangheili; James was lost, and Linda was critically wounded. John saved four other Marines on the station, including Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson. The team returned to the UNSC Pillar of Autumn and was placed into cryo-sleep as the ship fled Reach and, following the Cole Protocol, jumped into Slipspace with seemingly randomized coordinates, in hopes of leading the Covenant away from Earth.

Defense of Earth and HumanityEdit

Installation 04

Once the ship had arrived safely at Installation 04, it emerged that the UNSC Halcyon-class cruiser UNSC Pillar of Autumn had been followed through Slipspace by around a dozen Covenant ships, who ultimately engaged the Autumn and sent several boarding parties to board the ship. Captain Jacob Keyes ordered John to be woken from cryosleep, and tasked him with ensuring the escape of the ship's AI, Cortana, while he crash-landed the Pillar of Autumn on the unidentified ring.

Initially, fighting on Halo was between UNSC and Covenant forces, but after Captain Keyes unwittingly releasing an ancient parasite, the majority of both forces were infected, and the fighting shifted to combating the new enemy.

John-117 was sent out by the Installation's Monitor, 343 Guilty Spark, to retrieve the Index, an activation device for the Halo ring that the Master Chief is led to believe would destroy all Flood forms within a large radius. Cortana's revelation, while inserted in to Halo's Control Center, proved that Halo's true purpose is to destroy all sentient life forms in the galaxy to starve the Flood, not to kill the Flood themselves.

John soon joined the three-side combat where the Covenant, the Flood and the Forerunners' Sentinels battle around the Control Room. Soon after, he tried to rescue Captain Keyes, but was too late. Captain Keyes had been transformed into a Proto-Gravemind Flood form. After infiltrating the Truth and Reconciliation, the Chief managed to retrieve the Captain's neural implants, which he used to activate the Pillar of Autumn's self-destruct sequence. After the sequence was aborted by 343 Guilty Spark, he proceeds to manually overloading the fusion reactors, which would subsequently destroy both the Pillar of Autumn and Installation 04.

After successfully destroying the fusion reactors on the Pillar of Autumn, John-117 use a Warthog to reach the extraction point where Pelican Echo 419 would pick him up. John-117 reached the extraction point, only to witness the Pelican crashing into the Autumn's hull after being shot down by a pair of Banshees. The Chief quickly diverts his escape route towards the ship's hangar bay, which housed a Longsword fighter. Only a handful of UNSC forces survived, including Lieutenant Elias Haverson, Corporal Locklear, Warrant Officer Sheila Polaski, then-Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson, Private First Class Chips Dubbo, and Sergeant Pete Stacker.

Operation: FIRST STRIKEEdit

After the destruction of Alpha Halo, Cortana and the Master Chief fled through space in the Longsword they escaped in. He discovered three cryotubes floating nearby, one containing Linda, and retrieved them. Soon after, the Covenant Flagship Ascendant Justice came into the system along with a few cruisers, some of which had possibly escaped Halo's destruction and called the flagship to Threshold. A nearby Pelican dropship docked on an asteroid floating among Halo's debris field, fired at the cruiser to distract it. After a successful escape from the Covenant battle group, John linked the two vessels and brought its passengers aboard to the Longsword. The crew of the Pelican then helped John in capturing the Covenant ship, and making a Slipspace jump to Reach to look for surviving Spartans. John eventually locates some of his fellow SPARTAN-IIs on Reach, along with Vice Admiral Danforth Whitcomb and Dr. Catherine Halsey. When they returned to the captured Covenant vessel, they jumped into Slipspace where they discovered a base belonging to the Eridanus Rebels. After receiving some repairs, they were forced to abandon the rebels in the face of a Covenant assault, and made their way towards the Covenant refit-and-repair station, Unyielding Hierophant.

John faced a dilemma regarding the combat data on the Flood which was given to him by Dr. Halsey. Providing the standard data set to Lieutenant Haverson would protect Sergeant Johnson from possible experimentation by ONI. However, providing him the complete data, which contained reference to Sergeant Johnson's escape from the Flood due to his Boren's Syndrome, would result in Johnson's death.[8]

John and the few remaining SPARTAN-IIs, Linda-058, Grace-093, William-043, and Fred-104, focused on finding a way to stop the Covenant from reaching Earth, the location of which has been discovered. They decided to destroy the 'Unyielding Hierophant. The SPARTAN-IIs infiltrated the station, and after eleven hours on board they arrived at a temple, where a copy of Cortana warns them of a new type of guard known as "Brutes". Linda took a sniper post and the other four entered the temple. They are ambushed by Brutes, and John is nearly killed, but manages to kill their attackers. Grace,however, is killed by three Brute Shot rounds. John activated the fail-safe on her armor, denying her use to the Covenant.

The team sabotaged the generators in the Unyielding Hierophant and as they escaped out a side door, the fail-safe on Grace's armor activated, disintegrating a Covenant lance. John, Fred, and Will were quickly spotted by three Banshees, but their Elite pilots were hit by Linda's sniper fire. The Banshees were then captured by the Spartans. John doubled back to retrieve Linda, who took down four more Banshee pilots attempting to kill John. They then escape by destroying a glass atrium, and arrive back at the Gettysburg.

Vice Admiral Whitcomb and Lieutenant Haverson piloted the Ascendant Justice straight towards the Unyielding Hierophant. Whitcomb discusses the Alamo and Thermopylae with John, then prepares to fight the Covenant off while the Unyielding Hierophant's fusion reactor detonates. Every one of the five hundred Covenant ships maneuvers in right next to the Ascendant Justice, and the Admiral draws a SMG. The Admiral and the Lieutenant die when the fusion reactor explodes. The explosion annihilates four-hundred and eighty-six ships of the Covenant fleet, leaving only around a dozen intact ships to invade Earth. John leaves after witnessing Whitcomb's sacrifice, and arrives back at Earth with the last members of his team, Linda, Will, and Fred.[9]

Battle of EarthEdit

"Something's not right. The fleet that destroyed Reach was fifty times this size."

—Fleet Admiral Terrence Hood

Aboard Cairo Station, John received the MJOLNIR Mark VI Powered Assault Armor and attended an awards ceremony with the newly-promoted Commander Miranda Keyes and Sergeant Major Johnson. The ceremony was interrupted by the arrival of Regret's Fleet, initiating the Battle of Earth. John successfully repulsed Covenant boarders from the station. Upon discovering a bomb on board Cairo Station, John fought his way through waves of Elites, Grunts, and Drones until he reached it and allowed Cortana to access and deactivate the boarder's demolition device. He gave the Covenant back their bomb by launching himself and the device, via decompression of one of the station's launch bays, towards an Assault Carrier. A timely strike by Longsword interceptors opened a breach in the warship's hull, allowing John to direct the bomb into the ship's fusion core. He then proceeded to use the blast from the bomb to launch himself back into the UNSC In Amber Clad.

John was then deployed to New Mombasa, East African Protectorate aboard the UNSC In Amber Clad against Covenant ground forces. His Pelican drop ship was shot down by a Scarab's main cannon. John and other surviving Marines fought their way to the other Pelicans. After a rendezvous with Gunnery Sergeant Pete Stacker in the Zanzibar Hotel, in Old Mombasa, Master Chief destroyed Covenant units along the shore of the city as he chases the tracks of the Covenant Scarab. Arriving at the edge of Old Mombasa, John received a Scorpion Tank from Sergeant Major Johnson.

Fighting through numerous highway tunnels and suburbs, John reached the city center where Marines under the command of Staff Sergeant Banks were pinned down by Covenant forces. With the assistance of the Marines and a large stockpile of weapons, John boarded the Scarab and was able to destroy it and the Covenant forces protecting it. John was then transported to In Amber Clad to intercept the Prophet of Regret's flagship. When the flagship starts to enter slipspace, Commander Miranda Keyes is granted permission to follow it. John and all on board In Amber Clad were brought to Installation 05.

Installation 05Edit

[1][2]Master Chief on Installation 05 hunting down the Prophet of RegretForced to act quickly once at Installation 05, John manned a Human Entry Vehicle with several Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, tasked with locating and assassinating the Prophet of Regret. Cortana informed him of Regret's intent to fire Halo as soon as possible. He tracked the Prophet of Regret to a temple in the middle of a lake, but not before witnessing countless Covenant vehicles coming out of Slipspace, followed by High Charity. He quickly dispatched the Prophet of Regret, and escaped the temple shortly before it is destroyed by an overhead cruiser which glassed the building as John just got out of the way by jumping off the edge of the construct and into the water.

Losing consciousness and so unable to swim in the lake, he was captured by the Flood's central intelligence, the Gravemind. Shortly after, the Arbiter was also captured. The Gravemind appealed to the common interest that Flood and Humans share, that of not wishing the Halos to be fired. John agreed. The Gravemind then tasked both captives with locating the Index, sending them to the two most likely locations. John was sent to High Charity, interrupting a sermon by the Prophet of Truth. In fact, this was the least of his worries; the conflict between the Sangheili and Jiralhanae was beginning and leading the Covenant on the path to civil war - John was caught right in the middle.

John chased them through High Charity, eventually catching up to the Prophets and their Brute escorts, though only a dying Prophet of Mercy (courtesy of a Flood Infection Form) was left to tell him that Truth is heading to Earth. In an instant, John was caught between a rock and a hard place; on one hand, the Covenant had the Index and could activate Halo. On the other, Earth's chances of withstanding the fleet Truth would lead were slim to none. In the end, he followed the latter, forced to leave Cortana behind so that if Halo was activated, she would detonate In Amber Clad's reactors, not wanting to risk detonating it remotely. John boarded the Forerunner Dreadnought, bounding for Earth.

Return to EarthEdit

John-117 and the Forerunner Dreadnought return to Earth; with John using a piece of the Dreadnought as a shield.:"Master Chief, you mind telling me what you're doing on that ship?"

—Lord Hood
"Sir, finishing this fight."

After a series of firefights, captures and escapes, John escaped the Dreadnought and crash-landed on Earth, where he was found by Sergeant Johnson, the Arbiter, and the rest of their squad. Sergeant Johnson believed the Chief to be dead, and requested heavy lifting gear, in order to recover the Chief. However, the Spartan was awake and battle-ready only minutes later, showing his incredible tolerance to pain and shock. He attempted to attack the Arbiter, believing that he was still the enemy. Johnson informed him that they were now allies, as the disillusioned Arbiter and his race had defected from the Covenant.

John and the Marines traveled through the jungle, searching for evacuation to a nearby military base. Johnson and his team split up from John and the Arbiter, and they were later captured by loyalist Covenant Brutes and rescued by John and Thel 'Vadam. After taking heavy fire from Phantoms, a Pelican dropship evacuated the team to a UNSC base known as Crow's Nest.

The base soon came under attack, but not before Fleet Admiral Terrence Hood told John his plan. Commander Miranda Keyes decided to evacuate all forces, many of whom were injured. John, Thel and the remaining UNSC Marines fought and defended the base during evacuation, planting a massive bomb to destroy the base along with Covenant forces. Master Chief fought his way through many Brutes, escaping the explosion in an elevator. He met up with several Marine survivors underground, and they escaped the base and headed for the city of Voi along Tsavo Highway, crushing Covenant resistance on their way.

At the Battle of Voi, John pushed through many Loyalist forces as he made his way to what was believed to be the Ark. Rather, this turned out to be a device that opened up a portal to the Ark. With Marine support, John destroyed three Anti-Air Wraiths, a Scarab, and a Covenant Anti-Aircraft Battery, allowing Lord Hood's Frigates to fire upon Truth's Dreadnought, with little effect. Truth then activated and fled through the Portal with his remaining Loyalist forces, while the UNSC remained behind to determine their next move.

Just as the battle seemed finished, a Flood-infested Covenant warship crash -landed in Voi. John, 'Vadam and the remaining Marines fought to contain the Flood infection, learning that the only way to contain the Flood was to destroy the warship. During the battle, Shipmaster Rtas 'Vadum came to aid the UNSC. He deployed a Sangheili strike team through Orbital Insertion Pods, assisting the John as he was sent to retrieve Cortana from the Cruiser, as it was believethat she was on board. Aided by 343 Guilty Spark, John retrieved a damaged data device and returned to Shadow of Intent. This data turned out to be only a message, rather than Cortana herself. The Sangheili were able to stop the Flood infestation by glassing the city and its surroundings, much to Hood's displeasure.

The Sangheili and the UNSC watched Cortana's recording, which contained a warning that High Charity, now overwhelmed and controlled by the Gravemind, was heading for Earth. However, she offered hope, with information of a way to stop the Halos from firing and neutralize the Flood threat. Convinced of the reliability of Cortana's message, John resolved to journey to the Ark, while Hood mobilized remaining UNSC forces on Earth. John accompanied a joint UNSC-Sangheili task force through the portal aboard the Forward Unto Dawn to the Ark.

Installation 00Edit

The Sangheili carried UNSC forces through the Slipspace portal which led to the Ark. The team was determined to stop Truth from activating the remaining six Halos. They descended in Pelicans while the Shipmaster's fleet fought hard against the Brute ships. They flew to the surface of the Ark to eliminate Covenant Loyalists in the section, secure a landing zone for Forward Unto Dawn, and find the Ark's Cartographer. Traveling in Scorpions, Warthogs and captured Prowlers, John and other Marines located the Cartographer and learned that Truth was in the Installation's Citadel. John then escaped from the Cartographer and proceed to assault the fortress.

John-117, Thel 'Vadam, and a squad of Marines are assigned to seperately attack three towers emitting a protective shield around the Citadel. Although John and 'Vadam managed to deactivate two towers, Sergeant Johnson was captured in the battle, being spared to serve as a Reclaimer. John, Thel 'Vadam, and the Elites deactivated the last tower, lowering the shield. Just as the Shadow of Intent is about to destroy the Citadel, the Flood-controlled High Charity comes out of Slipspace, bringing the Flood into the battle and disabling the Shadow of Intent.

After defeating the last remnants of Loyalist forces around the Citadel, including two Scarabs, John and 'Vadam enters the Citadel. Although Miranda Keyes had forced her way in, breaking through the central window with her Pelican, she was soon surrounded. As she hesitated before killing Johnson and herself, Truth shot and killed Keyes with a Spiker. Johnson was then forced by Truth to begin the activation sequence. In an unexpected turn of events, John and 'Vadam made a temporary alliance with the Flood to stop the activation of the Halos. The final Loyalist defenses were crushed by the Flood as John and the Arbiter reached Truth, which was already being infected by the Flood. Thel 'Vadam executes him with his Energy Sword, while John deactivated the rings.

The Gravemind then proceeds to betray John and 'Vadam, laughing as he succeeded in preventing his own destruction. After fighting past waves of Flood, the two escaped. As they were leaving the Citadel, John saw a vision of Cortana that led him to the exit. There, he learned that a replacement for Installation 04 had been built by the Ark. He decided to return to High Charity to retrieve Cortana and destroy the Gravemind.

"You know me. When I make a promise..."
"You...keep it. I do know how to pick 'em."

On High Charity, John battled his way through hordes of Flood before reaching Cortana, who still had the Activation Index from the first Installation 04. John then destroys the city by overloading its backup generators. On his way out, Cortana detected a friendly contact, which turned out to be Thel 'Vadam. High Charity explodes as the trio narrowly escaped on a Pelican.

Firing Replacement Installation 04Edit

The final task for John, 'Vadam, and Cortana was to destroy the Flood by activating the replacement Installation 04. The three landed on the Halo, finding that the Gravemind is trying to rebuild itself on the Installation.Flood Dispersal Pods released Combat Forms against John and the Arbiter, forcing them to fight their way up to the Control Room, where the ring could be activated. During the battle, Sergeant Johnson arrived and assist the Chief in battle.

After defeating all Flood forces around the Control Room, 343 Guilty Spark unlocks the door to the Control Room. Once inside, however, Guilty Spark realized that the team intended to fire the Halo before it could be completed, which will destroy the ring. After mortally wounding Sergeant Johnson, he then turns on John.

"You are the child of my makers. Inheritor of all they left behind. You are Forerunner. But this mine."
—343 Guilty Spark, betraying the Master Chief

John stood his ground, even after being hit by several laser blasts, and fought against Spark. Although the Monitor seemed to be invulnerable, Johnson shot the Monitor, temporarily distracting him. He then handed off the Spartan Laser, and John finished off Guilty Spark. Johnson's injury was fatal, and he requested that John send him out "with a bang" after handing over Cortana's data chip and imploring him, "Don't ever let her go."

Cortana then activates the second Installation 04, and they fled to the Forward Unto Dawn onboard a Warthog, fighting Flood and Sentinels all the way. Both Cortana and Thel 'Vadam gave their condolences for the loss of Johnson. The team boarded the Dawn and escaped the firing and destruction of the replacement Installation 04. However, the slipspace portal opened for them could not sustain itself under the stress, and its closure severed the ship in half, sending 'Vadam to Earth. John and Cortana were left drifting in unknown space.

Missing in ActionEdit

"But you did it. Truth, and the Covenant...the Flood. It's finished."
—Cortana to John-117

John and Cortana were presumed dead when they did not make it back to Earth. The forward half of the Forward Unto Dawn, bearing the Arbiter, crash-landed on Earth. Lord Hood commissioned a memorial near Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa in honor of UNSC servicemen who have fallen during the war. Due to having no pictures to remember him by, the Chief's SPARTAN ID number, 117, was carved onto the memorial by an unknown party, and the UNSC Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy insignia patch was taped beside his ID number. Ironically, he and a few other Spartans are the only ones truly Missing In Action.


"Wake me...when you need me."
—John's last words to Cortana

John and Cortana did manage survive the explosion of Installation 04 (II) in the remaining cargo portion of the Forward Unto Dawn, but it was nearly powerless and, without airlocks or a bridge, could not be properly navigated. Cortana, relieved that John survived, explained this to the Chief, and that it could take years before anyone could discover their distress signal. John stowed himself in a cryotube, at which point Cortana said "I'll miss you." John replied with "Wake me...when you need me." This leaves the series off exactly as it started: inside a cryotube. In 2557, still stranded in space, Cortana attempts to talk to John while he is still asleep. Unable to get a response from him, she recounts the history of the galaxy, seemingly unaware that John cannot hear her, and showing major signs that she is descending into rampancy.

John was last seen in the half of the Forward Unto Dawn, approaching an unidentified planet.


John's personality is more explored in the books than the games, so the players can more imagine themselves as the Master Chief, which is what he is intended to be, but he does have a personality. In the games he is stoic, taciturn, and lucky. In the books he is the same, but is known to be more expressive and open-minded. He can be pretty negative, and described as being a pessimist often times. He also has a close friendship with Cortana, who possesses a deep personal loyalty to him.


John's age is affected by the same ambiguities as all beings that leave their home worlds for deep space. By technical human Earth years, John is approximately 41 years old at the time he crash-landed on Installation 04 and 46 years old in 2557. However, during the 27 Earth years that he has spent fighting the Covenant, considerable time was spent in Slipspace. The aging process is slowed in slipspace by deep sleep in cryo-chambers; in which all cellular aging can be halted almost completely.


John-117's face has never been seen in the games, and therefore his appearance was left mostly to one's imagination. The novels Halo: The Fall of Reach and Halo: The Flood give some insight to John's appearance. Early on in Halo: The Fall of Reach, when Dr. Catherine Halsey and Jacob Keyes go to Eridanus II to observe John as a child, he is described as "a typical six-year-old male, with tousled brown hair and a sly smile that revealed a gap between his front teeth". In Halo: The Flood, referring to John in 2552, he is described as having "Short hair, with serious eyes, a firm mouth, and a strong jaw." Also he's described as being unnaturally pale, a consequence of spending most of his time in his armor.

In the ending cutscene of Halo: Combat Evolved, John takes off his helmet, and the camera pans upward leaving the head obscured by the ship window frame as he sets the helmet to his side. Some people have used Halo: Custom Edition development mode to move the camera. However, the Bungie 3D artists did not produce a separate character model for this single occasion, just a separate helmet model; if the animation is viewed from inside the ship, it appears as if John takes off his helmet, revealing another exactly identical helmet underneath. Players have also found an Easter Egg in the Halo 3 Beta. Using a Mongoose, players can reveal what looks like a face in a Spartan's helmet. However, Bungie has confirmed that this is Marcus R. Lehto's face, not John's.

For the first time, John's face was shown without a helmet in Halo: Helljumper Issue 1. The comic illustrated the fight between John and four ODSTs. As expected, his face is seen from the side and is covered up in shadow, hiding any specific facial features.


  • John-117 is voiced by Steve Downes in the Halo trilogy.
  • Fans have many theories as to the significance of his number, 117. Inside the Halo Universe the number was randomly assigned, but Bungie's choice has been theorized upon in many ways. For more, see List of Biblical References in Halo. It is most likely that it was chosen for mathematical reasons, since, and also that. John 1 Chapter 1, Verse 7, is a passage referring God who relinquished all evil from the world so people could believe, hence 'Believe' being part of the advertising campaign for Halo 3. Additionally, the song Remembrance is 1:17 in length, as well as Prepare to Drop. It is interesting to note that in the year 117, a man named "John I" became the 7th Bishop of Jerusalem. This covers both his name, John-117, and Bungie's apparent love for the number 7. It could also be probable that John-117 is named partially in honor of "John Spartan," protagonist of the movie Demolition Man, who was kept in cryogenic storage as "Prisoner 117" for forty years.
  • In both Halo: Uprising and Halo 3, John is referred to as Sierra 117. This is a military-appropriate identifier using the Phonetic Alphabet.
  • Bungie's refusal to show John's face has been parodied many times in popular culture.
  • A wax sculpture of the Master Chief can be visited at Madame Tussaud's, Las Vegas and in Amsterdam. He was the first video game character to become a Madame Tussaud's wax sculpture.
  • Fable II makes a reference to the Master Chief with a character of legend named "Hal", also called the Minstrel Chief. The armor featured (clearly inspired by Halo's MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor) is known as "Hal's Armor". The Energy Sword also makes an appearance as one of the first weapons you can attain with the Collector's Edition of Fable II. The Assault Rifle can be acquired on the Knothole Island DLC as "Hal's Rifle", and has the largest magazine of any ranged weapon in the entire game, although its damage is low to average. In addition, with the Special Edition, the player can obtain the title "Master Chief" for their hero for free from any title vendor.