Task Force 141
A multinational special operations unit formed after the events of the first game, Task Force 141 conducts a number of high-risk counter-terror special operations across the globe, with particular emphasis on containing the threat presented by Ultranationalist Russia.
For Cpt. "Soap" MacTavish and Cpt. Price, see SAS.
Lieutenant Simon "Ghost" Riley
British soldier in Task Force 141, who prefers to wear a skull-faced ski mask. His face is never shown, and name is never stated in-game, though the tie-in comic centered on him revealed that it's Lt. Simon "Ghost" Riley. Has a suspiciously similar voice to Gaz.
- The Ace
- Bash Brothers: With Soap/Roach.
- Big "NO!": Throws one between when Shepherd shoots Roach and he himself gets shot.
- Breakout Character: While he's not personally in it, his popularity led to Call of Duty: Ghosts which has a squad known as Ghosts.
- Broken Ace: See Dark and Troubled Past below.
- Catchphrase: "Let's do this!"
- Cool Mask: A balaclava with a skull painted in white, giving him an intimidating appearance.
- Cool Shades: His eyes not covered by his balaclava are covered up by a pair of shades, which never come off.
- Dark and Troubled Past: As shown in the prequel comics, good boy is this man's past ever tragic and messed up. Growing up under an Abusive Dad (who once scares him in his sleep with a live snake), getting sent to a failed mission that gets him tortured and brainwashed for months and Buried Alive, ending with him barely escaping with only half of his life left, only to see his now-functional family massacred by brainwashed men who were once his comrades, who ruin his life even more by framing all the murders on his head, turning him into a fugitive.
- Decomposite Character: Like Fairbrass' two other characters above, he's a Good Counterpart Foil to his voice actor's The Brute role Delmar from Cliffhanger, as both characters carried a Beretta 92 as a sidearm and a variant of the MP5 as a primary submachine gun, while both characters died instantly from a gunshot wound to the chest, ironically Ghost's death was held after being devastated by Shepherd shooting his close colleague Roach, while Delmar's death was held after he himself caused a Deuteragonist's devastation by killing off his close friend. Additionally, Ghost's diving outfit from "The Only Easy Day... Was Yesterday" and "The Gulag" resembles Delmar's black jumpsuit, while Ghost wears a balaclava much like Delmar's during the plane heist scene of Cliffhanger. Also, both characters are quite the Torture Technicians, even though Ghost is a rare heroic example, but their torture tactics and motives tends to differ. While Delmar's brutal Kick the Dog No-Holds-Barred Beatdown soccer torture was For the Evulz out of his own meaningless sadistic gratification, Ghost's less brutal and more subtle Kick the Son of a Bitch Cold-Blooded Torture on the other hand was meaningfully for extracting important information to take down the enemy.
- Et Tu, Brute?: He had this reaction when Shepherd shoots Roach, moments before he was killed by the General.
- The Faceless: Never seen without his trademark skull mask and sunglasses. Ever. Except in the comic book.
- Freak Out!: When the nuclear submarine's missile doors open and the missile launches. Justified, as he didn't know what Price was up to.
- Good Is Not Soft: Given his experiences, he will use any means necessary to take down the enemy and protect the peace of the world, even torturing the bad guys for important info. He stops at betraying his own band of brothers to start a world war, unlike Shepherd.
- The Lancer: Until Price shows up, then Soap becomes the Lancer.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Of Gaz.
Sergeant Gary "Roach" Sanderson
Player character for most of the Task Force 141 segments of Modern Warfare 2.
- Atrocious Alias: Whoever gave him the nickname "Roach" was either very cruel or knew how durable he was...
- Bash Brothers: With Ghost in "Loose Ends". Then he got wounded by a mortar and Ghost dragged him to the evac chopper. Then Shepherd shoots them and lights them on fire, burning Roach alive.
- Book-Ends: His story begins and ends with the throw of a lit cigar.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Burned alive after being shot.
- Et Tu, Brute?: This would possibly be the players' reaction when he is killed by the General.
- The Faceless: Because we play as him, we don't ever get to see his face. Even when we do see his character model, as shown here from one of the game's official images, we don't get to see it due to him wearing a balaclava, helmet, and goggles..
- Heroic Mime: As per tradition, he speaks nothing from the start of the game to the end. Although if he falls of a cliff in "Cliffhanger" he actually screams.
- Man on Fire: How he dies.
- Meaningful Name: Roach survives a lot of crap, even for a Call Of Duty Player Character. It takes him being clipped by a mortar, shot at point blank range with a revolver, and then SET ON FIRE while bleeding out to finally kill him.
- Player Character: He is the main playable character in Modern Warfare 2. Until he dies.
Commander of the US military task force invading Khaled Al-Asad's nation in Modern Warfare. Afterwards, becomes commander of Task Force 141.
- Authority Equals Asskicking:
- To say he leads from the front is an understatement. He can be seen fighting alongside the Rangers in Team Player. While carrying a .44 Magnum Revolver.
- The whole Shadow Company, though far more competent than other in-game enemies, failed to stop Price and Soap. Shepherd nearly takes them down in one-on-two combat, after surviving a helicopter crash.
- Badass Grandpa: Falls down a waterfall after his helicopter crashes and explodes, but it doesn't seem to phase him. After this, he proceeds to beat two highly trained commandos who are much younger than him in hand to hand combat.
- Badass Mustache: Soap even comments on it in his journal (included with the Hardened Edition of MW3).Soap: Another commanding officer with a caterpillar? Destiny.
- Bad Boss: Orders an artillery strike on his own men in an attempt to kill Price and Soap.
- Bald of Awesome: Well, a rather obvious buzz cut.
- Bald of Evil: What he turns out to be.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: Of Modern Warfare 2 with Makarov.
- Big Good: At the start of the game, he seems to have this role, being a high-ranking and respected US Army general in charge of Task Force 141. Subverted in "Loose Ends".
- The Chessmaster: He has made the whole thing in Modern Warfare 2. It's revealed in Modern Warfare 3 that fellow chessmaster Makarov was playing him too, but it still doesn't take much away from Shepherd's scheme in the previous game.
- Colonel Kilgore: He sees the war as a time for heroes and legends and he brags all the time about how good the United States Armed Forces are but then we see how much of a warmonger he actually is and it ain't pretty.
- Combat Pragmatist: Waits for Price and Soap to run out of ammo to fight them head on.
- Cornered Rattlesnake: Shepherd usually prefers to let his men do all the fighting for him, but when he has no more men to rely on and faced with certain death, he's more than capable of fending off his attackers himself.
- Despair Event Horizon: Crossed it when his entire task force was nuked in the first Modern Warfare.
- Dirty Coward: Subverted. While he spends much of the final level running from Soap and Price, it isn't out of fear but out of pragmatism since he still has his men to rely on and still keeps a calm demeanor. In fact when it's just him, Price, and Soap, he's willing to fight them himself and nearly kicks both their asses. Also, military commanders generally are supposed to rely on their men and not go "1-v-1 me bro" when assassins come after them.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: There are numerous deliberate parallels between him and Osama bin Laden. The fact that the finale of the game involves hunting him down through caves in Afghanistan is a huge tip-off.
- Dramatic Irony: As we learn in 3 he sided with the man who pulled the trigger that sent him over the Despair Event Horizon in the first place.
- Et Tu, Brute?: His betrayal of Task-Force 141 in the mission "Loose Ends".
- Even Evil Has Standards: He balks at using nuclear weapons in the war, chastising Price for even considering it. It may have had more to do with the fact that it was aimed at America than anything else, however. There's also the fact that his motivation stems from losing 30,000 of his men in a nuclear explosion, which may give him a very personal reason for not being too thrilled about it.
- Evil All Along: He was involved in starting the war in the first place.
- Evil Plan: His is to start up a third World War to not only secure his own place in history as a hero, but to turn the United States from a nation full of apathetic and complacent citizens to one full of patriotic, war-mongering volunteers.
- Eye Scream: Soap throws a knife. It hits him in the eye.
- Fallen Hero: He was genuinely good before the loss of 30,000 soldiers.
- Freudian Excuse: A nuke killing his 30,000 men completely broke him, and drove him to seek glory for the United States at all costs.
- Frontline General: In the first mission, he personally leads the Rangers across a bridge into battle. Subverted in subsequent missions where he hides behind Shadow Company and even attempts to bomb his opponents rather than fight him.
- Four-Star Badass: In the final mission of Modern Warfare 2 Shepherd goes toe-to-toe with Price and is actually winning. Only a timely knife throw by Soap stops Price from being killed.
- General Ripper: Pretty much to the letter. Extends to, possibly even exemplified, after his FaceHeel Turn. The causes and reasons that he wants the war to continue are magnified after we find out what role he really played in the game's events.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: At the end of Loose Ends, he briefly enjoys a smoke...just before using it to light Ghost and Roach on fire.
- Hero Killer: He kills Ghost and Roach to tie up loose ends, and given that he fixed the plot to massacre a Russian airport and pin it on America, his scheming lead to PFC Allen's death as well.
- He Who Fights Monsters: He eventually becomes a monster himself.
- Hypocrite: Talks greatly about loyalty, honor, and sacrifice but shows no hesitation to use his men as fodder for the meatgrinder. He also mourns 30,000 soldiers but gets far more killed by inciting WW 3.
- Irony: He, who pretty much played the rest of Task Force 141 and Makarov like fools doing his bidding, turns out to be an Unwitting Pawn himself to the latter come 3, via falling for false information and being manipulated directly and indirectly. And that's not including the fact that he chose to help Makarov, the very same man who ordered the nuclear detonation in the Middle East that killed 30,000 of Shepherd's own men, and the prime motivation for the General's FaceHeel Turn.
- Karma Houdini: Of the "doesn't get away but gets what he wanted" sort, complete with burial at Arlington National Cemetery, and there is no indication that his exploitation/purge of TF141 was exposed to the public at large. Though given that the surviving members of Task Force 141 are exonerated by NATO at the end of MW3, it's more than likely that Shepherd's dark side was finally brought to light.
- Knight Templar: Nothing is beyond the pale to achieving his ends, even getting the US invaded by Russia.
- Made of Iron: Soap and Price, two highly trained SAS agents, fall off a waterfall and end up barely being able to stand. Shepherd falls off a waterfall and gets blown up in a helicopter, and he's fine.
- Motive Rant: A truly epic one after stabbing Soap.
- Nice Hat: He is never seen without his beret.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: He does this to Price in the final mission, and will actually kill him if you don't stop him in time.
- Not So Different: From Makarov, who's willing to go to increasingly brutal and questionable methods just to take down their enemies piece by piece, including killing or attempting to kill their own allies.
- Praetorian Guard: He has them in the form of the American Shadow Company, which are more competent than the Russian soldiers you usually fight. It's not really explained whether they're a black ops unit or a Private Military Contractor.
- Precision F-Strike: Makes his Motive Rant all the more effective.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: He uses a Colt Anaconda.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Soap and Price, whom he betrayed for being loose ends, kill him, with the help of fellow World War III co-conspirator Makarov, no less.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: For a while, on this very wiki, people had trouble spelling S-H-E-P-H-E-R-D.
- Unwitting Pawn: To Makarov. Taking into account all of the revelations of the third game, Makarov turned Shepherd into the Well-Intentioned Extremist he had become in the second game through the nuclear detonation in 2011. In addition, if the safehouse level is compared to Makarov's actions starting in "Persona non Grata" in 3, it also reveals that he had been playing Shepherd like a fool through feeding false information the entire time. It's even implied that had Price and Soap not gone on their Roaring Rampage of Revenge on Shepherd's headquarters at Site Hotel Bravo, Makarov was ready to send the Spetsnaz spec ops units that he sicced onto Price and Soap at the start of 3 onto Shadow Company instead.
- Uriah Gambit: Sends PFC. Allen on an undercover mission knowing he will be exposed and killed by Makarov in order to start a war between the USA and Russia. Unusually for this trope, it was probably Nothing Personal.
- Walking Spoiler: Knowing too much about him gives away that he's the main villain of MW2.
- Weapon of Choice: He carries a .44 Magnum revolver as his signature weapon, adding to his image as a powerful badass war hero. In heavier combat situations, such as in "Team Player", he seems to prefer the M4A1 assault rifle.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He wants American citizens to know how much is sacrificed for the freedom and safety that they took for granted. Saying that he used extreme measures to achieve this is like saying tsunami victims are wetter than other people.
- We Have Become Complacent: Shepherd feels this about the citizens of the US, and aims to turn this around by fixing World War III.
- We Have Reserves: As stated by Cpl. Dunn:Cpl. Dunn: C'mon, since when does Shepherd care about danger close?
- Subverted in that at least once he can be seen fighting the enemy alongside the Rangers, even while calling in airstrikes at "danger close" proximitynote .
- "All units, this is Gold Eagle. The site has been compromised. I am executing directive one-one-six-bravo. If you're still inside, your service will be honoured. Shepherd out."
- Villain Has a Point: While most of the criminal charges against Soap and Price are trumped up bullshit, the war criminal charge against Price isn't without merit. Price unilaterally launched a weapon of mass destruction that all but assuredly killed American civilians on the East Coast. At the very least that would've landed Price in a court martial at some point, not that he would've cared.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Is buried at Arlington National Cemetery and publicly considered an American war hero.
- The Von Trope Family: His full name is Hershel von Shepherd, as confirmed by Robert Bowling.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
- To Makarov and ALL of Task-Force 141, a rare case of this being done to Unwitting Pawns instead of Mooks.
- Actually a Subverted Trope for the former: Modern Warfare 3 subtly reveals that Makarov was actually doing this to him, based on the fact that the latter actually had more resources and influence on hand than initially thought. Having Price and Soap kill Shepherd for him was simply convenience.
Private First Class Joseph Allen
Player character for a few missions in Modern Warfare 2, Army Ranger and later TF141 member, sent by Shepherd for a CIA undercover mission.
- Decoy Protagonist: Following Paul Jackson, he appears for a while as a player character, got some character development, before dying a horrible death.
- The Faceless: Subverted. We never get to see his face in 2. Come 3, when we finally do get glimpses of him in photos and flashbacks, he reuses both Lev's and Viktor's character models from "No Russian".
- Heroic Mime: Averted, though he only speaks in cutscenes.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: In the mission No Russian, he is ordered to slaughter Russian civilians along with Makarov's men in order to prove himself as a member of the squad. Regardless if the player-controlled Allen complies or not, Makarov will execute him at the end since he knows that Allen is a mole.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Being at the "No Russian" mission seems to be the reason for pretty much the entire plot of the second and third games.
- Player Character: You control him for the first, second, and fourth missions.
- Reverse Mole: He's sent on an undercover mission to infiltrate Makarov's terrorist cell. It does not end well.
- Reused Character Design: When we finally get to see glimpses of him via photos and Yuri's flashbacks in 3, he uses both Viktor's and Lev's character models.
- Unwitting Pawn: In No Russian, to Makarov. It's eventually revealed he was also one to General Shepherd.
- Uriah Gambit: The victim of one from Makarov - he was added to the terrorist team specifically so he could die and be used to start a war between the USA and Russia. And even worse, you eventually uncover General Shepherd did this to him as well, for the exact same purpose. Unusually for this trope, it was probably Nothing Personal.