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The subject of this article appeared in Soap's Journal The subject of this article appeared in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The subject of this article appeared in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The subject of this article appeared in Find Makarov: Operation Kingfish. The subject of this article appeared in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. The subject of this article appears in Call of Duty Online The subject of this article appears in Call of Duty: Ghosts The subject of this article appears in Extinction mode The subject of this article appears in Call of Duty: Heroes This article was previously featured
For other characters, see John.


"I can still teach you a thing or two, old man."
— Soap to Price in "Blood Brothers".

Captain John[1] "Soap" MacTavish was one of the main protagonists of the Modern Warfare franchise, and also appears in Call of Duty: Heroes, as well as Call of Duty Online. He appeared in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare as a sergeant and special forces soldier, serving as the 22nd S.A.S. Regiment's sniper and demolitions expert, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 as a captain and the Field Commander of Task Force 141,[2] along with Captain John Price with Sgt. Gary "Roach" Sanderson and Lt. Simon "Ghost" Riley under his command.

He played an important role during the Ultranationalist crisis, being a newcomer to the British Special Air Service and part of Captain Price's Bravo Team. Players assume the role of Soap in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in addition to other characters. He is present as an NPC in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, except for the last three levels of the game, where the player once again plays as Soap. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 he is only playable in the first level and is an NPC from the remainder of the game. MacTavish was killed in action after being caught in an explosion with Yuri and falling from a high distance while trying to assassinate Vladimir Makarov, dying from massive blood loss.

A DLC named "Soap Legend Pack"  for Call of Duty: Ghosts was released on April 22, 2014 (Xbox 360, Xbox One), which includes the player to customize their soldier to look like Soap, as well as Soap themed player patch, camo, reticle, player card and background. It's priced at $3.99.


Early life

Soap's dog tags.

Not much is known about Soap's early life except he was born Roman Catholic. He is from Scotland, which is evident by the Scottish flag seen on his dog tags, along with his Scottish accent.

Military career

Soap served with the 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment prior to joining the SAS, with at least one tour in Northern Ireland.[3]

SAS career

"The F.N.G."

"Right, what kind of name is 'Soap', eh? How'd a muppet like you pass selection?"
— Captain Price to Soap when they first meet.

Soap begins his S.A.S. career hours before the Second Russian Civil War begins. Initially, Soap starts out as a Sergeant. Whilst in the S.A.S.'s training camp in Credenhill, U.K., Soap received a quick training session in weapons and techniques by a fellow S.A.S. member Gaz, before being introduced to Captain John Price and the rest of Bravo Team. He is referred to as "the F.N.G." (short for 'Fucking New Guy') by an unknown SAS soldier. After passing the C.Q.B. (close-quarter battle) test, 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. 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. He lost his grip; however, mere seconds before he was bound to fall off the vehicle, Soap was rescued by Captain Price.

Rescue of Code Name: Nikolai

"Two new Russians in my life. Nikolai, who we came for - and Kamarov, who we couldn't wait to get away from."
— Soap talks about the mission to rescue Nikolai in his journal.

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 S.A.S operator is 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.

The Search For Al-Asad

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.[4] 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.

Soap with Captain Price at the SAS headquarters in Hereford.

Chasing the Son of Zakhaev

"Soap, restrain him now!"
— Captain Price to Soap after cornering Viktor Zakhaev.

MacTavish's final mission in the Russian civil war saw him infiltrating Russia as part of the joint task force of United States Marine Corps and SAS operators in order to eliminate Imran Zakhaev's nuclear capability. After grouping with US forces, Soap and his allies proceeded to enter an Ultranationalist outpost and secure it, as part of plan to capture Zakhaev's son, Viktor Zakhaev. After a few hours, a convoy arrives in the outpost, led by Viktor himself. Bravo Team, disguised as Russian guards, allow Viktor 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, Viktor 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 Viktor. Unwilling to betray his father's secrets, Viktor committed suicide before Soap could take away his weapon.

15,000 Nukes At Stake

"You are going to be all right, my friend!"
Kamarov to Soap when he rescues him.

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's 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 snipers 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 severely damaged the bridge, causing the jeep to crash and forcing Soap and his companions to make continue on their own.

Fighting fiercely at the bridge in a massive penultimate battle, Soap was blown to the ground and severely injured by an exploding fuel truck. But he was pulled into cover by Sgt. 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 their attention from Soap and open fire on the helicopter. With Zakhaev and his men's attention diverted, a heavily wounded Price slid Soap his M1911 pistol, which Soap used to kill Zakhaev and two of his bodyguards just as they began to turn.

Moments later, Loyalist forces flooded the scene and Kamarov came to Soap's aid, placing him onto a stretcher, and assuring him that he will be alright. Soap passed out during the middle of extraction, though survived his wounds alongside Price. After he recovered, he thought all of his squadmates had died, including Price.

Inter-War period


"Plan is pretty simple: Get stronger than before."
— Soap talks about his fitness and injures in his journal.

Soap's training schedule.

Soap recuperated in Russia with Nikolai, then in a military hospital in Birmingham, U.K. before returning to Credenhill. He began to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, believing it was his fault that Griggs, Gaz and the others had died while feeling guilty that he had survived. However he does take some comfort in having killed Zakhaev, saying it makes it worthwhile. He was also under the impression that Price had perished alongside the others. He mostly spent his time running circuits and getting fitter, vowing to be stronger than before.


"If Horses didn't work, maybe smoking will."
— Soap in his journal.

During time on leave, he visited Price's favourite race course in Hereford. On the way back to Credenhill he visited a tobacco shop and picked up a box of Price's favourite cigars.

Task Force 141


"Another commanding officer with a caterpillar? DESTINY."
— Soap's thoughts in his journal.

During the inter-war period Soap decided to create a multinational Task Force. He managed to get the Commander of the U.S. forces in the middle east, Shepherd, to become the Task Force's Commander. He evaluated recruits from the U.S. Army Rangers, Special Air Service and Canadian Special Operations Regiment.


Sometime before Operation Kingfish, Soap was reunited with Price. With Price joining as Field Commander of his newly formed Task Force.

Soap during Operation Kingfish.

Operation Kingfish

Main article: Find Makarov: Operation Kingfish

On October 8, 2013, a joint Task Force 141/Delta Force operation codenamed Operation Kingfish was launched; the team consisting of John Price, John "Soap" MacTavish, Simon "Ghost" Riley, Gary "Roach" Sanderson, and Delta Operators Sandman and Derek "Frost" Westbrook. The team assault the main compound and are able to recover some intel, but get ambushed by a bomb, forcing the team to evacuate. During the evac Soap is wounded by an RPG and is partially knocked out, an AC-130 tries to defend the team as they sprint toward their evac point, but is shot down. Leaving the team completely vulnerable. Forcing Price to selflessly stay behind to facilitate the team's escape. Roach and Sandman drag Soap aboard an Osprey, much to his dismay. In the aftermath, Soap is assigned as the task force's field commander.

Field Commander

Main article: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

After Operation Kingfish, Soap is leading the 141's operations with Lieutenant Simon "Ghost" Riley and Sergeant Gary "Roach" Sanderson under his command.

Recovering the ACS

Soap climbing a mountain in Cliffhanger.

"Roach, these muppets have no idea we're here. Let's take this nice and slow."
— Soap to Roach in "Cliffhanger".

When the Russians get their hands on a downed U.S 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 the base, the two recover the module inside a hangar. However, they are quickly compromised by Major Petrov and his forces. MacTavish tells Roach to go to Plan B, in which Roach pulls the trigger on a C4 detonator that detonates a packet of C4 strapped to a fuel tank. 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 evacuation team.

Alejandro Rojas

"Frontrunner, this is Bravo Six. We've got the package. I repeat we have got the package."
— Soap to Command after capturing Alejandro Rojas.

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 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, all they managed to learn from Rojas is that Makarov has a strong hatred for Prisoner 627 in a Russian gulag.

Captain MacTavish in The Hornet's Nest attempting to catch Gary "Roach" Sanderson.

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.

Counterstrike in Russia

"Long history of this building. Not much of it pretty. Started out as a castle. With an actual dungeon. Built to withstand any siege. Building survived every brutal winter. The occupants... they weren't so lucky. The Monastery. Didn't survive the purges. Over the last century it's played host to anyone the government didn't want, but couldn't kill. Place is filled with living casualties of the last war... which I swear I thought we'd won. But I suppose it's all a day at the races: you back the losing horse, and this is where you end up. Six-Two-Seven is the piece of meat Makarov wants, so let's cut him loose."
— Soap's description of the gulag and their mission to retrieve Prisoner 627.

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 gulag before it explodes. During this time, MacTavish returns Price's M1911 pistol he used to kill Imran Zakhaev five years ago.

The Contingency

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.

Shepherd's True Motives

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 too late in the process. Soap and Price manage to escape the aircraft graveyard with the help of Nikolai while getting some intelligence from Makarov, focusing on killing Shepherd.


"We've got one good UMP. They've got a thousand."
— Soap to Price in opening cutscene of "Just Like Old Times".

Soap killing General Shepherd.

The two then pursue Shepherd through Afghanistan, fighting through his 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, slams his head into a broken down car (thus knocking him to the ground) and impales Soap with Shepherd's knife. Before Shepherd could execute Soap with a .44 Magnum, however, Price tackles Shepherd, causing him to drop the gun. As Soap crawls towards it, Shepherd manages to push Price away from him, kicking the .44 Magnum away and stomping Soap's head. Price and Shepherd then engage in a long, brutal 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, manages to gather what little strength he had left to get the knife out of his chest, and throws it into Shepherd's left eye, killing the treacherous general in seconds. Price, who had been punched unconscious, awakens, pushing Shepherd´s body off of him. Seeing Soap's mangled state, Price then comes to his aid and the two are evacuated by Nikolai, who arrives in a MH-6 Little Bird, even though told by Price that it was "a one way trip". 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.

W.I.A. and Disavowed

Main article: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
"He's a hard bastard. Trust me, he'll make it."
— Price during "Persona Non Grata"

Soap getting attended to in Persona Non Grata.

Shortly after his victory over General Shepherd, Soap's recent wounds had him slowly dying on the trip to Nikolai's safehouse in India. To make matters worse, a large group of Makarov's men assaulted the safehouse in an attempt to kill the remnants of Task Force 141. Soap's survival would not have happened had it not been for the actions of Price, Nikolai, and new found ally Yuri. After escaping from the ruined safehouse and fighting through the streets of Himachal Pradesh, they are evacuated by Nikolai in a chopper.

Gathering Resources to Hunt Makarov

The now disavowed Task Force 141 and the Loyalists then work to collect resources to supply Price and Soap in their mission to kill Makarov. First, they map out weapon depots, shops and trafficking routes used by the local militia in exchange for money to purchase weapons from Parrot's Beak, Guinea. They are then tasked as security detail to a client in Ghana to escort 600 kilograms of gold from the Accra Intl. Airport to local couriers in exchange for money to purchase more ordinance, weaponry, and equipment.

Militia Investigation

Two months after his recovery, Soap accompanies Price and Yuri on missions in Sierra Leone and Somalia in pursuit of Makarov. When they land in Sierra Leone, the group follows up on Yuri's suspicions about Makarov's weapon shipments, and learn that the recent cargo Makarov's men retrieved were chemical weapons being shipped to Paris, Berlin, and London.

Going after Makarov

"Here on out, we're for just one thing: REDEMPTION. FINALLY. BACK IN THE FUCKING FIGHT."
— Soap in his Journal, after hearing about the Chemical attacks in London.

Shortly after the wave of chemical attacks, intelligence from Price's former commanding officer, MacMillan, leads the team to a local warlord in Somalia named Waraabe, which leads to Soap assisting Price in interrogating him on intel about Makarov. The intelligence facilitates Team Metal's apprehension of Makarov's bomb-maker, Volk, during the Ultranationalist attack on Paris and Berlin. On the way out of Somalia Nikolai's chopper was shot down by Waraabe's men forcing them to detour through the sand storm, much to Soap's irritation. As they fought through the thick covered sand storm they eventually found Nikolai and got him out in a truck instead and shot their way out of Somalia. Soap asked how they were going to get Volk, Price said they couldn't but Sandman of Team Metal was close. They managed to get Volk and get the Intel for Price, Soap and Yuri.

Assassination attempt of Makarov

Soap jumping out of a church near Hotel Lustig, one of the main causes of his death.

"What the hell's he talking about?!"
— Soap, right before the bombs explode.

The acquired intelligence from Team Metal leads Price, Soap, and Yuri to Makarov's location in Prague. With aid from Kamarov, Price, Soap, and Yuri use the distraction of the local Resistance to their advantage to reach their assigned spots at the Hotel Lustig. Price would infiltrate the Hotel Lustig while Soap and Yuri provide cover with their sniper rifles at a nearby church. However, Makarov, not wanting to fall in the same trap as Zakhaev, caught wind of the assassination attempt and detonates the bombs planted on Kamarov and at Soap and Yuri's overwatch position. Soap pushes Yuri out the hole in the wall to save him, but gets caught in the blast radius, accompanied by suffering a long fall. Soap survives the fall, but is severely injured as a result of the blast, the fall and debris collapsing on him. Just before the detonation, Soap briefly learns of Yuri's then-unknown acquaintance with Makarov.


"Price, you need to know...Makarov...knows...Yuri."
— Soap's final words to Price.

Price mourning over Soap's body.

Price and Yuri desperately rush Soap to a nearby resistance safehouse, where Soap relays the recent revelation of Yuri's acquaintance with Makarov to Price before dying. After being in brief denial of Soap's death, Price stands still for a moment, then places the M1911 used to kill Imran Zakhaev in 2011 that Soap had given him in a few months earlier on his chest and takes his journal from one of Soap's pouches. While attempting to escape, Price punches Yuri down a flight of stairs, demanding he reveal how Makarov knows him. Yuri elaborates that he was Makarov's friend but betrayed.


"We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further: it may be
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or that glimmering sea,''"
— A passage from 'The Golden Journey to Samarkand' seen on the last page of Soap's journal.

Soap's death was later reported to MacMillan, and Soap's name, John MacTavish, was later inscribed on the Hereford clocktower honoring fallen SAS veterans. Soap's death fuels Price's vengeance against Makarov, even after the end of World War III. After WWIII ended, Price called Makarov to taunt him about his impending doom, but Makarov countered by taunting Price about Soap's death. Just prior to his final confrontation with Makarov where Price would finally kill the terrorist leader, Price declared "This is for Soap".

Call of Duty: Heroes

He also appears in Call of Duty: Heroes as a Hero unit, unlocked after completing the North Europe campaign.

Battle Aura: Increase Accuracy by 4%.

Killstreaks: Care Package, Mine Sweep Round

Statue: 250 Celerium Icon CoDH.png.


Main article: John "Soap" Mactavish/Quotes


Main article: John "Soap" MacTavish/Gallery



  • In the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 E3 2009 Preview, Soap had an English accent.
  • In the trailer of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Soap is shown being shot and killed in the mission "Cliffhanger". This happens in the actual game when the player doesn't "go to plan B".
  • Soap's line, "Dogs... I hate dogs" is a reference to Indiana Jones' line, "Snakes... I hate snakes." It is also a humorous reference to his multiple encounters with attack dogs in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Finally, Soap's dislike of dogs appears all throughout his field journal, with comical illustrations to boot. This is also the quote on the Soap Legend Pack patch.
  • Soap has a tattoo of a revolver on the back of his neck.
  • After Soap's death in "Blood Brothers" Captain Price pulls out his M1911 pistol and lays it on Soap's chest. This was the same pistol that Price gave to Soap in "Game Over", which was later returned to Price in "The Gulag".
  • As seen in the cutscene for "Stronghold", Soap had received the three highest decorations available to British Commonwealth military personnel during his career. These awards are (in order of rank), the Victoria Cross, the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross and the Distinguished Service Order.

The Victoria Cross, the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross and the Distinguished Service Order given to Soap.

  • Soap's blood type is O-positive (O POS), as indicated on his dog tags in the intro of Stronghold.
    • Soap is also Roman Catholic, as indicated by the letters "RC" on his dog tags.
  • Soap supports "The Glasgow Football Club", a fictional Glaswegian football team.[5]
  • In his journal, Soap writes: "Another keeper: Ghost. Can't get over the name though. What the hell kind of name is Ghost?", the same way Price says "...what the hell kind of name is Soap?" when Price and Soap first meet.


  1. File:Soap tags 2.png
  2. Cliffhanger
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named File:Soap MW3 Dossier.png
  4. All Ghillied Up and One Shot, One Kill
  5. Soap's Journal Page 17