|“||I can't still teach you a thing or two, old man||„|
|~ Soap a few minutes before his death|
Captain John MacTavish, nicknamed "Soap" was a Scottish SAS and Task Force 141 trooper.
Born in the heart of Scotland, Soap began his SAS career hours before the six-day global war begins. Initially, Soap started out as a Sergeant, unusual in that newcomers to the SAS are usually demoted to Trooper (However, they still retain their rank and the level of pay they previously received. The rank of trooper is only given to show that all the new recruits are equal), fresh out of Selection. Whilst in the SAS's training camp in Credenhill, UK, Soap received a quick training session in weapons and techniques by a fellow SAS member Gaz, before being introduced to Captain Price and the rest of Bravo Team. After passing the C.Q.B. test (Close Quarters Battle, intended to be reminiscent of the real SAS "Killing Houses"), Soap is briefed on the mission to infiltrate and assault a cargo ship in the Bering Strait. On board the ship, they discover a nuclear bomb bound for Russia, though enemy MiGs interrupt their investigations, and Soap barely escapes with his life. In the process of escaping the doomed vessel, Soap was forced to leap for the ramp of the team's helicopter, just as it was beginning to fly away. However, he lost his grip, and mere seconds before he was bound to fall off the vehicle, was rescued by Captain Price.
Upon completing the mission, Soap, Price and Gaz travel to the Caucasus Mountains in Russia to extract the informant who supplied them with the intelligence for the cargo ship, a man codenamed "Nikolai". Working in close conjunction with Russian government Loyalists led by Sergeant Kamarov, they successfully locate and extract Nikolai from the battle zone, though their helicopter is shot down by an Ultranationalist surface-to-air missile. Bravo Team, Nikolai and another SAS operator are forced to fight their way through enemy lines, before being provided with support from an AC-130H Spectre Gunship, call-signed "Wildfire." They are extracted by helicopters under cover of heavy air support from Wildfire.
Soap's next mission with Bravo Team would take him to Azerbaijan, clearing through an abandoned village in search of Khaled Al-Asad. Upon locating him, Soap witnessed Al-Asad's interrogation and execution at the hands of Captain Price, learning that Imran Zakhaev had been Al-Asad's weapons supplier. The next day, it appears Soap was designated the team's support man, being equipped with both an M249 and M21 sniper rifle. He was placed in charge of covering the team's retreat with the Minigun from a downed Black Hawk (destroying several Ultranationalist Helicopters in the process) and detonating the explosive charges placed at Phase Line Bravo. Afterwards, he was the point man when the squad had to backtrack to the lower part of the village due to heavy coverage of Anti Aircraft weapons in the vicinity. Following this, Soap and the rest of Bravo Team were extracted by US Marines led by Staff Sergeant Griggs.
MacTavish's final mission in the Russian civil war saw him infiltrating Russia as part of the joint task force of US Marines and SAS operators in order to eliminate Imran Zakhaev's nuclear capability. After grouping with US forces, Soap and his allies proceeded to enter a Ultranationalist outpost and secure it, as part of plan to capture Zakhaev's son, Victor Zakhaev. The following day, a convoy arrives in the outpost, led by Victor himself. Bravo Team, disguised as Russian guards, allow Victor to enter the facility, though quickly reveal their true intentions and attack his forces. During the battle that followed, Soap and Griggs provided sniper support for the rest of the team from a high tower. However, Victor Zakhaev rams his jeep into one of the legs of the tower, sending it tumbling to the ground, providing the perfect distraction to get away. Stunned, Soap was unable to take down Victor before he could get away. After chasing him through a small village, and a five story building, Soap and the rest of the team corner Victor. Unwilling to betray his father's secrets, Victor committed suicide before Soap could take away his weapon.
Angered at his son's death, Zakhaev threatened to launch nuclear missiles at the East Coast of America if US and British forces did not withdraw from Russia. In order to handicap Zakhaev's nuclear threat, Soap, Price, Gaz, Griggs, and several other SAS members parachuted into the Altay Mountains in order to reach his launch facility. However, their mission was delayed by Griggs' separation and subsequent capture. After eventually locating and recovering him, Soap planted a set of C4 on a power tower, destroying the electricity supply to the facility. Following this, the team regrouped with US sniping forces before witnessing a double nuclear missile launch at Zakhaev's hands. Entering the facility, the team furiously fought against time to reach the launch control center, and eventually deactivated the missiles. However, the team was unable to prevent Zakhaev's escape, and he managed to depart the facility before anything could be done. The group then attempted to escape, with Soap provided all-around covering fire for their jeep as they made their way to the extraction site. However, Zakhaev's Mi-24 Hind damaged the bridge, forcing Soap and his companions to fight their way on foot.
Fighting fiercely at the bridge in a massive penultimate battle, Soap was thrown to the ground and severely injured by an exploding oil truck. He was pulled into cover by SSgt. Griggs, moments before Griggs himself was killed. He then watched helplessly as Imran Zakhaev and his bodyguards executed Gaz and two other SAS operatives. Just as all hope seemed lost, a Loyalist Mi-28 gunship destroyed the Ultranationalist Mi-24 Hind, forcing Zakhaev and his henchmen to turn away from Soap and open fire on the helicopter. A heavily wounded Price slid Soap his M1911 pistol, which Soap used to kill Zakhaev and two of his bodyguards.
Moments later, Loyalist forces flooded the scene and Kamarov came to Soap's aid, placing him onto a stretcher, assuring him that he will be alright. Soap passed out during the middle of extraction, though survived his wounds alongside Price.
Task Force 141
During the next five years after the events of the civil war, MacTavish was rising in the SAS taking part in an unknown number of operations throughout the world. It was during these five years MacTavish would be promoted to Lieutenant and eventually promoted to the rank of Captain, and was also recruited into the elite Task Force 141, comprised of only the best and most experienced special operations soldiers. By 2016, MacTavish had become the task force's field commander, leading the 141's operations with Lieutenant Simon "Ghost" Riley and Sergeant Gary "Roach" Sanderson under his command. MacTavish evidently did not reveal his SAS nickname to any of the members, hinted in the mission "The Gulag" where Price is rescued by the Task Force 141 and exclaims "Soap?", followed by Worm asking "Who"s Soap?".
When the Russians get their hands on a downed US satellite, MacTavish and Sanderson are sent to infiltrate a Russian airbase to recover an ACS module within the Tian Shan mountain range in Kazakhstan. After scaling the mountain and sneaking through base, the two recover the module inside a hangar. However, they are quickly compromised by Major Petrov and his forces. In a daring escape, Roach and MacTavish fight their way out of the base and commandeer snowmobiles, leading to a thrilling chase down the mountainside to the awaiting evac team.
Shortly after the mission in Kazakhstan, MacTavish led Task Force 141 into Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to capture Rojas, an arms dealer who had supplied the Russian terrorist Vladimir Makarov with his weapons during his assault on Zakhaev International Airport. While Soap and Ghost interrogated Rojas' right-hand man, Roach and two other task force members went into the favela in search of Rojas. The two are killed in the fighting, leaving Roach to tackle the favela by himself. Roach fights his way through, eventually linking up with MacTavish and Ghost, whom have just captured Rojas. However, they only managed to learn from Rojas is that Makarov has a strong hatred for Prisoner 627 in a Russian gulag.
Due to the surprise invasion of the United States, the airspace around Brazil is locked down, leaving the task force stranded in the middle of enemy territory. In order to escape, MacTavish calls in Nikolai, whom Soap had saved during the events of the Second Russian Civil War. Surrounded by militia, the task force fights its way to a market, where Nikolai was supposed to pick them up in a helicopter. However, due to the fire from the militia he is forced to the secondary extraction point. During the escape, Roach is nearly left behind when he falls off a rooftop. However, he makes his way back to the top, militia in tow, and makes it aboard the helicopter.
Shortly after being extracted from South America, the Navy SEALs and Task Force 141 initiated a two-stage operation. The first stage being to secure a modified oil platform in order to disable SAM sites on the platform, and the second phase to infiltrate the prison itself. After infiltrating the prison, MacTavish led his troops through the Russian gulag, and eventually reach Prisoner 627, who turns out to be none other than Captain Price. Although Price is at first hostile towards Roach, he rejoins after recognizing Soap, and the squad manages to extract (via SPIE rig) from the area. During this time, MacTavish returns Price's M1911 pistol he used to kill Imran Zakhaev five years earlier.
Task Force 141 then headed into Petropavlovsk, Russia, seemingly on a mission to destroy a submarine. During the course of the mission, Roach facilitated Price's infiltration inside a submarine by providing Predator drone support. However, in a sudden twist of events, Price used the submarine to launch a nuclear missile, using it as an EMP to hinder the Russian's attack on America.
After the events of the nuclear launch, Task Force 141 was split up to investigate two locations, with Price and MacTavish investigating an arms deal in Afghanistan, while Ghost and Roach and the bulk of the task force investigate one of Makarov's safehouses in Russia. Price and MacTavish are attacked by Shepherd's men and attempt to warn Ghost and Roach, only to be late in the process. Soap and Price manage to escape the arms deal with the help of Nikolai while getting some intelligence from Makarov, focusing on killing Shepherd.
The two then pursue Shepherd through Afghanistan, fighting through Shepherd's Shadow Company and into Site Hotel Bravo. They then prevent Shepherd's escape by shooting down the general's Pave Low where they eventually corner him and attempt to kill him. However, as MacTavish attempts to stab Shepherd, the latter disarms Soap, knocks him to the ground and impales him with a knife. Before Shepherd could execute MacTavish, Price tackles Shepherd and engages him in a long hand-to-hand fight that Soap can see as he drifts in and out of consciousness, with Shepherd eventually gaining the upper hand. However Soap, now awake, takes the knife out of his chest, and throws it into Shepherd's left eye, killing the treacherous general. Price then comes to Soap's aid and the two are evacuated by Nikolai, who arrives in a MH-6 Little Bird. During the course of Shepherd's betrayal, Soap and Price were labeled as international fugitives, and were on the run following their victory over Shepherd. Hours after Shepherd's death, Price and Nikolai rushes Soap to a safehouse in India while under attack by Makarov's men. In order to properly save Soap, Nikolai brings in Ex-Spetsnaz soldier Yuri to fight off Makarov's men. Two months after his recovery, Soap and Yuri attempts to assassinate Makarov, but the attempt backfired after a C4 detonated where Yuri and Soap were hiding sending them both falling with Soap being more fataly wounded. After Yuri, Price, and the Czech Resistance escorts Soap to a table, Price and Yuri try to revive him but were unsuccessful. Soap's last words were "Makarov......knows.......Yuri", and he then dies of massive blood loss.