Learn more about the legendary military hero Big Boss in this Big Boss Timeline before the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Big Boss has been a part of a wide variety of conflicts that span across several Metal Gear titles. For those of you who were unable to experience his entire story, check out this succinct summary of all of the major events from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes to prepare yourself for the latest chapter.
Early Life (1950-1964)
Jack's military career dated back to the 1950s, when he participated in the Korean War as a teenager and later joined the Green Berets. In 1950, at the age of fifteen, he met The Boss and became her apprentice. She trained him in combat, demolition, and intel gathering techniques. The Boss was considered "The Mother of All Special Forces", having a decorated military career as the leader of the Cobra Unit. The Cobra Unit was a specialized combat unit that took part in a wide variety of high-importance missions during World War II.
During Jack's time with the Boss, the two of them jointly developed a unique hand-to-hand fighting style, known simply as CQC. They went their separate ways on June 12, 1959. They would meet once again, five years later in Russia. Between 1962 and 1964, Jack would join the FOX unit, led by Major Zero.
Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater (1964)
In August, 1964, Jack took part in the Virtuous Mission, a CIA/FOX operation that involved deep insertion into Tselinoyarsk, Soviet Union. Jack was given the codename of "Naked Snake" (or Snake for short). The mission was to rescue a Soviet defector, the weapons scientist Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov. Sokolov had pioneered the Soyuz rocket and the nuclear-armed Shagohod tank which was currently in development.Snake succeeded in locating and extracting Sokolov from KGB guards, but during his extraction he came face-to-face with The Boss. While The Boss was available as friendly radio support during the operation, she became unresponsive midway through. She revealed to Snake that she was defecting to the Soviet Unit to join the GRU Officer Volgin and her Cobra Unit (consisting of The Pain, The Fear, The End, and The Fury). Sokolov was re-captured, and Volgin not only seized Sokolov's project, but also unleashed an American-made Davy Crockett nuclear weapon on Russian citizens, creating an international incident.
The catastrophic fallout of the Virtuous Mission almost led to the execution of Snake and Major Zero. To make amends, Snake was reinserted into Tselinoyarsk a week later in Operation Snake Eater.
At 11:30PM on August 30, 1964, Snake was deployed again into Tselinoyarsk to conduct Operation Snake Eater. The direct aims of Operation Snake Eater were to eliminate the threat posted by the nuclear-armed Shagohad weapon and to assassinate The Boss. Snake's first mission was to rendezvous with a CIA informant codenamed ADAM. Snake was unable to make contact with ADAM, but would meet up with ADAM's fellow operative EVA.
Snake would come into contact with several enemy combatants, including GRU Major Ocelot and his Ocelot Unit. The young major and Snake clashed several times, creating a lasting rivalry. Snake overcomes several battles against members of the Cobra Unit, dispatching The Pain, The Fear, The End, The Fury, and even coming into spiritual contact with a deceased member of Cobra, The Sorrow.
Snake was captured by Volgin and subsequently tortured by him. Volgin ordered The Boss to remove Snake's eyes, but she would refuse. Shortly later, Ocelot would accidentally shoot out Snake's right eye, leading to his trademark eyepatch. Snake later escapes from confinement and planted C3 charges inside the hanger where the Shagohad tank was held. After a one-on-one bout with Volgin, the charges are detonated but they fail to destroy the tank.
The operation would conclude with the Shagohad tank reaching it's full operational capability, with Snake and EVA directly confronting Volgin within it. Volgin is killed, and the Shagohod tank is completely destroyed. Snake had accomplished every objective of his mission except for one. To kill his former mentor.
Snake and The Boss face off against each other in a field of flowers near his extraction point. Her CQC prowess made direct confrontation difficult, but Snake would utilize every skill in his arsenal to finally dispatch her.
Big Boss leaves his military career with the US behind him. He would create Militaires Sans Frontières, (MSF) along with subcommander Kazuhira Miller. MSF troops were stationed on Barranquilla Coast of Columbia. The organization is considered a private military company with no true cause or nation to fight for.
On November 4, 1974, Miller introduced Big Boss to Ramon Galvez Mena and Paz Ortega Andrade, who were seeking MSF's help in repelling an unknown armed force that entered Costa Rica. With the country unable to bear arms due to its peace constitution, Galvez wished to hire MSF to fight the invading force. Big Boss deduced that Galvez was actually KGB and that allying with him would make MSF an enemy of America. However, Galvez convinced Big Boss to intervene in the situation by playing a recording that featured the faint voice of The Boss. Big Boss offers his help for Paz and to find the answers behind voice.
Galvez would give an old, offshore plant to MSF, which they would use to gradually create Mother Base, their primary headquarters of operations. The organization enlisted members by abducting enemy soldiers from battlefields via Fulton surface-to-air recovery system or accepting volunteers. Big Boss cooperated with Sandinista National Liberation Front guerillas who had fled the neighboring Nicaragua. He would be acquainted with their leader Amanda Valenciano Libre, and her younger brother Chico. The two of them directly helped him throughout the long mission.
Peace Sentinel, a rogue CIA unit, would be the organization behind the armed force presence, and the group was smuggling nukes into the country. The Station Chief of Central America Hot Coldman was working along with scientist Huey Emmerich and Dr. Strangelove in creating Peace Walker, a new Metal Gear model created specifically for nuclear detterence. Huey worked directly on Peace Walker's mechanical construction and Dr. Strangelove created the Mammal Pod AI system that the Metal Gear would adopt for it's automated deterrence. Strangelove chose The Boss to be the model of the AI, and she felt she "had the most logical mind to do so". The AI shared the same mind and voice as The Boss, and was what Big Boss heard in Galvez's recording.
Coldman wished to launch a nuclear attack to directly show the capability of Peace Walker's automated deterrence strategy, but neither Huey nor Strangelove were directly attached to Coldman's plan. Big Boss traveled throughout Columbia and later Nicaragua to combat various AI-controlled weapons, such as the Pupa, Chrysalis, and Cocoon.
During the operation to stop Peace Walker, Ramon Galvez Mena (real name Vladimir Zadornov) is revealed to have worked alongside Coldman in the development of Peace Walker. He hijacked Coleman's plan and attempted to launch a nuclear strike against Cuba, the Soviet Union's biggest ally. The fallout from the attack would spread anti-American sentiment leading to a Soviet Union victory in the Cold War. In a tense standoff, Zadornov is captured by Amanda and her Sandinistas. Coldman, severely injured by a gunshot from Zadornov during the last stage of his plan, activated Peace Walker to launch a nuke as he dies.
Big Boss has a final confrontation with a nuclear-primed Peace Walker. While he successfully prevents it from launching a nuclear strike on it's own. Peace Walker continued to send false nuclear missile trajectory data to the US military, who were mere moments from launching a 'retaliatory' strike. With time running out and all hope nearly lost, The Boss AI became fully aware and willingly walked Peace Walker into the ocean, flooding the system and stopping the false trajectory data, which resulted to a complete evasion of all-out nuclear war.
Huey and Strangelove would later join MSF as members of the Militaries San Fronteries Research and Development division to create a Metal Gear of their own, known as Metal Gear ZEKE. The Metal Gear was created by scavenging AI parts and pieces from destroyed enemy weapons during the incident.
After the worst of the event was over, Zadornov was captured and held in the brig at Mother Base, and Paz stayed onboard Mother Base with MSF. After a few breakouts by Zadornov, Paz is revealed to be a spy for Cypher, a shadowy organization with strong roots in the United States. Cypher is led by none other than Major Zero, who wished to rejoin forces with Big Boss. Paz offers Big Boss to rejoin his former friend, but he refuses. Paz then hijacks a completed Metal Gear ZEKE and attempts to fire a nuke against the US and blame MSF. Big Boss and Kazuhira Miller find a way to stop her. She is thrown into the ocean and presumed dead afterwards.
In 1975, Big Boss receives word that Paz might still be alive. He suggests on finding her and killing her so her inside knowledge of MSF doesn't fall into the wrong hands. However, Miller tells him that Paz might secretly be a double-agent, and that capturing her instead of killing her might give them a more direct lead into Cypher. Paz is captured and transported to an offshore military blacksite called Camp Omega off the coast of Cuba. Unbeknownst to the rest of the group, Chico attempts to sneak into the camp to rescue Paz, only to be captured himself.
During this time, Huey prepares Mother Base to be inspected by an international nuclear organization who wishes to confirm whether MSF has their own nuclear weapon. The base hides their nuclear capabilities along with the repaired Metal Gear ZEKE prior to their inspection.
On March 16, 1975 at midnight, Big Boss infiltrates the base and safely extracts Chico and Paz. Paz would have a bomb planted in her stomach, and thankfully the medic onboard their extraction helicopter was able to remove it. Paz struggles during the removal and passes out from exhaustion afterwards.The nuclear inspection turns out to be a front, and Mother Base is completely destroyed and sinks into the ocean. Kazuhira Miller was able to be safely rescued before the base fell. During the helicopter exfiltration, Paz reawakens and throws herself from the aircraft. Another hidden bomb was planted inside her and would detonate shortly after her fall. The explosion violently forces the helicopter to crash. The impact puts Big Boss into a coma.
After nine years, Big Boss awakes from his coma. He then sets out on a path of revenge against those who wronged him. He starts a new organization called Diamond Dogs and begins a lengthy campaign in Afghanistan.
Check out these series of videos created by Youtuber KefkaProduction, these full length movies combine cutscenes, codec/radio conversations, and light gameplay together to give watchers a comprehensive storyline of each game in the Metal Gear series. If you are unable to play any of the games before launch, or simply want more details than can be found in this writeup, then be sure to give them a watch!