Jack O'Neill is an exceptional leader who has earned the respect of his team, his commanding officers, and of the President himself. Occasionally addressed as Jonathan, Jack's security ID identifies him as John J. O'Neill, born October 20, 1952. Born in Chicago and raised in Minnesota, Jack rarely speaks of his formative years. He does not often mention his parents, and he has no known siblings, although he has referred fondly to his grandfather from northern Minnesota. O'Neill never really embraced high school, and he entered the Air Force shortly after graduation. He completed Special Forces training in covert operations and infiltration, mind control techniques, special weapons and tactics, and survival skills, and he became a decorated parachutist. As a career officer, he has spent many years in the service of his country, much of that time in covert Black Ops, and most of his work during these years has been classified.
As a captain in 1982, O'Neill and Captain Kawalsky served under Colonel John Michaels during Operation East Fly, a failed mission to retrieve a Russian agent from East Germany in which Michaels was killed by sniper fire. Also during the 1980's, O'Neill sustained a skull fracture in a parachuting accident over the Iran/Iraq border. As an "unofficial" mission, there was no rescue, and he made it back to safety on his own after nine days. On another mission to Iraq, O'Neill served with Colonel Frank Cromwell. When the mission was exposed, O'Neill was injured, and Cromwell, believing him to be dead, made the decision to save the rest of the team. O'Neill was left behind and spent four months in an Iraqi prison, which strengthened his fierce determination that no member of his team should ever be left behind. During the Gulf War, O'Neill had served in Special Ops, including Operation Proven Force, out of Incirlik, Turkey with Lieutenant Harlan Beck. O'Neill also shares a history with Burke, now a CIA operative. Years ago they had served together, but the third member of their team had been a traitor whom Burke had exposed and killed in self defense. Burke had reported the incident as friendly fire, but O'Neill had not been a witness and had been unable to corroborate Burke's story, a fact Burke had bitterly resented for years until the two were reunited in the jungles of Honduras and Burke confided the true story to O'Neill for the first time.
O'Neill had been happily married to Sara, and together they had a son, Charlie. Despite O'Neill's military background, he never allowed his son to play with guns, but two weeks after a disagreement about a water pistol, young Charlie accidentally shot and killed himself with his father's handgun. O'Neill never forgave himself. He grew estranged from his wife, left the military, and withdrew from the world. When the stargate was first activated and a team was assembled for the first mission to Abydos, Colonel O'Neill was recalled to active duty. Still distraught over the death of his son, he accepted the assignment, believing it to be a suicide mission, but he returned from Abydos instead with renewed hope, and quietly settled into retirement alone. In 1997, he was recalled to active duty once again for the return mission to Abydos, and Colonel O'Neill became the ranking officer under General Hammond at the SGC and the commander of the flagship SG-1 team.
O'Neill has earned a reputation for courage and heroism, and he is also known for his irreverence and more than a few marks of insubordination on his record. He is highly respected by the President of the United States, both President Hayes and his predecessor. He is an exceptional military strategist and a decisive leader who respects the individual contributions of his team. His survival training and abilities as a sharpshooter have been invaluable. Although he does not wear pilot's wings, he has had training as a pilot, and has flown several alien craft including the death glider, X-301, and F-302, for which he is the most qualified pilot on the planet. O'Neill's abilities have earned him the respect of Earth's allies as well, including the Asgard, Nox, and Tollan, who specifically requested his assistance in the covert mission to uncover the illegal activities of rogue agents of the NID. Thor selected O'Neill personally to represent Earth in the negotiations for the Protected Planets Treaty, and he named the Asgard's most advanced spaceship, the "O'Neill," in his honor. O'Neill and his team have repeatedly saved the world from destruction, and he has been awarded numerous medals, including the Air Medal for exemplary courage and heroism.
In his years of military service, O'Neill has faced many threats and injuries. He has been wounded numerous times, both by bullet wounds and alien weapons. Over his lifetime he has suffered nine broken bones, including skull fractures, has had three knee surgeries, and has referred to having experienced the "drugged-out-strapped-to-the-bed thing." During his service with the SGC he has been artificially aged, impaled by an alien device, possessed by alien entities, and several times his mind and his memories have been altered. As a prisoner of Hathor, he was given the abdominal pouch of a Jaffa, and he also faced implantation as a Goa'uld host, although the symbiote died before blending could occur. On P3R-272, SG-1 first encountered an Ancient repository which downloaded the knowledge of the Ancients into O'Neill's mind. As the vast database slowly began to overwrite his brain, he began to unwillingly speak the Ancient language, to enter new stargate addresses into the SGC database, and to build an energy generator that allowed the stargate to dial the Asgard planet of Othala where he could seek help.
When he contracted the virus carried by Ayiana, O'Neill's only hope for survival was implantation by a Tok'ra symbiote. He reluctantly agreed to become a host to Kanan, however a true blending never occurred. Instead, the implantation exposed Kanan to O'Neill's code of ethics and determination that no member of his team should be left behind, and Kanan used O'Neill's body against his will to return to Ba'al's highly fortified outpost to rescue Ba'al's slave whom he had abandoned there. With no memory of what had brought him to the secret outpost, O'Neill became Ba'al's prisoner and was repeatedly tortured to death, then revived in a sarcophagus. Weakened to the point of breaking, he withstood the ordeal only to protect the slave who appeared in fleeting glimpses of memory, and when the outpost came under attack, O'Neill seized the opportunity to make his escape and rescue them both. The experience made him cautious of the motives of the Tok'ra, however he buried his bitterness and distrust in order to cooperate with the Tok'ra as allies.
Since his experience with the Ancient repository, O'Neill had become legendary among the Asgard for his advanced physiology due to the gene of the Ancient race in his genetic makeup. Because O'Neill possesses the Ancient gene, he is able to interact with Ancient technology such as the Ancient repository, Ancient stones, Ancient spacecraft, and Ancient defense weapon. Loki, a renegade Asgard scientist, had also hoped that O'Neill's genetic code contained the key to solving the problems of Asgard cloning. However, the Asgard had safeguarded O'Neill's genetic coding for his own protection, placing a marker in his DNA to prevent genetic manipulation, and Loki's attempts to abduct O'Neill and create a clone were unsuccessful, resulting instead in a clone of Young Jack O'Neill, who didn't properly mature.
A decisive leader, O'Neill has never hesitated to put the fate of the planet before his own life. The discovery of a second Ancient repository on P3X-439 gave SG-1 the opportunity to find the Lost City and the technology that could defeat Anubis. However, with no time to extract the device before it fell into Anubis's hands, O'Neill made the decision to interface with the device once again, hoping that he could access the knowledge to save Earth before the technology would overwhelm his nervous system and lead to his death. As the alien database began to overwrite his brain, O'Neill acquired the Ancient knowledge, even as his own identity began to slip away. He spoke in Ancient words, modified the hyperdrive and transport ring technology on the cargo ship, and used the healing power of the Ancients to heal Bra'tac's knife wound. He accessed the address of Praclarush Taonas, the fiery world that held a zero point module, and he used the device to activate the Ancient defense weapon in Antarctica, defeating Anubis and saving Earth from annihilation. As he succumbed to the Ancient knowledge, he was placed in a stasis chamber in the Antarctic outpost that would preserve him in suspended animation until a way could be found to revive him.
O'Neill was rescued by Thor, who was able to remove the Ancient knowledge from his mind and restore him once more, and upon his return to Stargate Command, O'Neill was promoted to brigadier general and offered the command of the SGC. The Pentagon had convinced the President that O'Neill was the one man who could run the SGC and make it politically viable from an international perspective, despite the fact that he is part of the American military establishment. O'Neill accepted the assignment, and although the transition to an administrative role at first caused him to question his ability to fill Hammond's shoes and led him to consider resignation, his somewhat unorthodox leadership style served him well, and he has proven himself to be an exceptional general.
A private person who rarely expresses his feelings, O'Neill tends to use humor and sarcasm as a means of deflecting tension and to exhibit a certain denseness that belies his true intelligence. He is very close and intensely loyal to each member of his team. Despite their very different perspectives, O'Neill has the utmost admiration for Daniel's passion and his many abilities. He has tremendous respect for Carter's brilliance, and the special bond they have shared has always remained within the bounds of military regulations. It is Teal'c with whom he has the most in common, as a fellow warrior and brother in arms. He shares a special affinity for dogs, whom he claims are his favorite people, and he is fiercely protective of children. Perhaps feeling the loss of his own son, O'Neill has formed a close bond with children the team has encountered off-world, including Skaara, young Charlie of the Reetou, Merrin of Orban, for whom he risked court martial, and Cassandra with whom he remains very close.
O'Neill has never remarried, although he has had several brief relationships since the end of his marriage to Sara. On Argos, Kynthia had chosen him, and she perceived the brief relationship they had shared as a marriage according to the customs of her people. Stranded on Edora, he had been prepared to start a new life with Laira, but Laira had chosen to remain with her people when the stargate was restored and O'Neill was rescued. On Earth his social life beyond the SGC has been limited. His working relationship with Kerry Johnson of the CIA grew into a brief romance, however Kerry gently ended their personal relationship, recognizing that issues remained between Carter and O'Neill.
O'Neill lives alone in a single story home in suburban Colorado Springs, and he maintains a cabin near Silver Creek in northern Minnesota to which he retreats whenever he has the chance. In his home and his office he displays many of the medals he has earned during his career as well as photos of his family, Sara, and Charlie. His transportation of choice is his Ford F250 truck. In his time off, his interests range from astronomy to pottery, and he has a number of hidden talents as well, including juggling and at least a passable ability in conversational Spanish. He plays chess, and enjoys regular Friday night poker games with a few of his friends, including the local sheriff. He occasionally enjoys listening to opera, and his eclectic taste in reading material includes "Mad" and "Cracked" magazines as well as "National Geographic." He is fond of beer, and has been known to drink both Heineken and Guinness. While his taste in food tends toward burritos, guacamole, and Chinese take-out, he also eats steak, fish, hot dogs, and Froot Loops. His culinary skills usually involve an outdoor grill, although he does prepare his world famous omelet on occasion, beer being the secret ingredient in both cases.
An avid sports fan, O'Neill has played hockey and golf, and he maintains an interest in curling, a favorite sport of his grandfather's. He is a loyal fan of the Chicago Cubs, and he especially used to enjoy playing baseball with his son. His weekends are often spent watching both college and professional football on television. Other television interests include "The Simpsons," for which he owns the entire collection on VHS, and he has expressed an interest in actress Mary Steenburgen on more than one occasion. He has been known to catch an occasional rerun of "The Day the Earth Stood Still," despite his insistence that he is not a fan of science fiction and his claim that he has never seen "Star Wars," perhaps preferring instead his real life adventures through the stargate. He hates bugs, but loves spending time outdoors, and for relaxation he enjoys nothing more than fishing at his cabin in northern Minnesota, 20 miles from the nearest town. He insists that the act of fishing is more important than the fish themselves, and he maintained that he had never caught a fish in his pond because there were none to be had, however ripples in the time space continuum may have had an impact on O'Neill's favorite hobby.
Following the defeat of the Goa'uld and the Replicators at Dakara, O'Neill was promoted to major general and was reassigned to Washington, DC. He hand-selected General Hank Landry as his successor, and he visited Landry at his home to debrief him about the Stargate Program and to offer him command of the facility. He also offered Dr. Carolyn Lam the position of Chief Medical Officer, however he neglected to mention that her father would be her commanding officer. O'Neill took an interest in Cameron Mitchell as well, and as Mitchell recovered from his devastating injuries sustained in Antarctica, O'Neill offered him the choice of any posting he wanted following his recovery. He approved Mitchell's request to join SG-1, even though SG-1 had been disbanded, perhaps recognizing in Mitchell the ability to reunite his team.
Since his reassignment, O'Neill has returned to Colorado Springs to sign the papers to his house, car, and motorcycle, but he spends most of his time in Washington. He remains in contact with the Stargate Program, however, and he coordinates closely with Landry on SGC operations. He returned to the SGC when the Ori threat was first detected, and he used his influence to help keep the SGC funded despite a shift in priorities from the IOA. He also stopped at the SGC on his return from a business trip to Malibu, ostensibly to offer his input on Martin Lloyd's latest project, and he joined the team for one more trip through the gate on the occasion of Mitchell's 200th crossing of the event horizon. When Daniel was transformed into a Prior and detained by SG-1, O'Neill returned again to the SGC to confront his friend. Against the recommendation of the IOA, O'Neill made the decision to trust Daniel, and from his position aboard the Odyssey O'Neill joined SG-1 in the mission to complete Merlin's weapon and deliver it to the Ori galaxy. Although it was not possible to determine if the weapon had been successful, the mission was a turning point in Earth's battle against the Ori invasion.
As both a military officer and a leader, Jack O'Neill has helped to shape the SGC and to protect the planet, and Earth owes a great deal to his courage and integrity.
Portrayed by: Richard Dean Anderson
See Also: Military Insignia and Ribbons
Cross Reference: Ancient Communication Stone, Ancient Gene, Ancient Repository, Ancient Stasis Chamber, Ayiana, Ba'al, Harlan Beck, Burke, Samantha Carter, Frank Cromwell, Janet Fraiser, George Hammond, Homer, Daniel Jackson, Kerry Johnson, Kanan, Charles Kawalsky, Kynthia, Laira, Hank Landry, John Michaels, Cameron Mitchell, Charlie O'Neill, Sara O'Neill, The O'Neill, Young Jack O'Neill, Pentagon, Jonas Quinn, SGC, SG Teams, Silver Creek, Joe Spencer, Teal'c, Time Travel 3000 BC, Tok'ra
First Introduced: Children of the Gods
Significant Episode Reference: Cold Lazarus, Solitudes, The Gamekeeper, The Fifth Race, A Matter of Time, The Devil You Know, Abyss, Fragile Balance, Evolution, Lost City, New Order, Zero Hour, Threads, Moebius, Avalon, Origin, 200, The Shroud