|Name||John Eric Winchester|
|Actor|| Jeffrey Dean Morgan|
Matthew Cohen (Young John)
Nels Gulofen (Child John)
|Dates||1954 - July 19, 2006 (killed by Azazel)|
|Location||Lawrence, Kansas (formerly)|
Vessel for Michael (5.13)
|Episode(s)|| 1.01 Pilot|
1.04 Phantom Traveler (voice only)
1.10 Asylum (not seen)
1.18 Something Wicked
1.20 Dead Man's Blood
1.22 Devil's Trap
2.01 In My Time of Dying
2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two
4.03 In the Beginning
4.13 After School Special (not seen)
5.13 The Song Remains the Same
8.12 As Time Goes By
9.07 Bad Boys (not seen)
11.04 Baby (vision)
You gotta understand somethin'. After your mother passed, all I saw was evil. Everywhere. And all I cared about was, was keepin' you boys alive. I wanted you prepared. Ready. So somewhere along the line I uh, I stopped being your father, and I, I became your, your drill-sergeant. So when you said that you wanted to go away to school, all I could think about, my only thought was, that you were gonna be alone. Vulnerable. Sammy it just, it never occurred to me what you wanted. I just couldn't accept the fact that you and me... we're just different.
– John Winchester, 1.20 Dead Man's Blood
You know, when you were a kid, I'd come home from a hunt, and after what I'd seen, I'd be, I'd be wrecked. And you, you'd come up to me and you, you'd put your hand on my shoulder and you'd look me in the eye and you'd... You'd say 'It's okay, Dad' [...] You shouldn't have had to say that to me, I should have been saying that to you. You know, I put, I put too much on your shoulders, I made you grow up too fast. You took care of Sammy, you took care of me. You did that, and you didn't complain, not once. I just want you to know that I am so proud of you.
– John Winchester, 2.01 In My Time of Dying
- 1 History
- 2 Episodes
- 2.1 1.01 Pilot
- 2.2 1.04 Phantom Traveler
- 2.3 1.09 Home
- 2.4 1.10 Asylum
- 2.5 1.11 Scarecrow
- 2.6 1.12 Faith
- 2.7 1.14 Nightmare
- 2.8 1.16 Shadow
- 2.9 1.18 Something Wicked
- 2.10 1.20 Dead Man's Blood
- 2.11 1.21 Salvation
- 2.12 1.22 Devil's Trap
- 2.13 2.01 In My Time of Dying
- 2.14 2.04 Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things
- 2.15 2.08 Crossroad Blues
- 2.16 2.20 What Is and What Should Never Be
- 2.17 2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two
- 2.18 3.03 Bad Day at Black Rock
- 2.19 3.14 Long-Distance Call
- 2.20 4.03 In the Beginning
- 2.21 4.04 Metamorphosis
- 2.22 4.13 After School Special
- 2.23 4.16 On the Head of a Pin
- 2.24 4.19 Jump the Shark
- 2.25 5.13 The Song Remains the Same
- 2.26 5.16 Dark Side of the Moon
- 2.27 8.12 As Time Goes By
- 2.28 9.07 Bad Boys
- 2.29 9.11 First Born
- 2.30 9.17 Mother's Little Helper
- 2.31 10.05 Fan Fiction
- 2.32 10.09 The Things We Left Behind
- 2.33 11.04 Baby
- 2.34 11.15 Beyond the Mat
- 2.35 12.15 Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell
- 3 Age Speculation
- 4 Known Acquaintances
- 5 John's Military History
- 6 Trivia
- 7 See also
- 8 John in Fandom
- 9 References
Surviving a lonely childhood, a stinking war... only to get married and have his wife taken by a demon... and later killed by one himself. That man got a bum rap around every turn. But you know what? He kept going. And in the end, he did a hell of a lot more good than he did bad.
John was born in Normal, Illinois to Millie and Henry Winchester. Henry was a member of the Men of Letters, who intended to induct John into the order when he was old enough. However, when John he was four, his father disappeared. John thought Henry had simply left, not knowing that his father had fled through time to escape the grasp of the Knight of Hell, Abaddon, who later killed him in the 21st century. This left John with a deep resentment -- in Dean's words "he hated the man." Nothing is known of John's mother Millie. John described himself as "a mechanic from a family of mechanics" and there is someone in his life who an acquaintance refers to as "his old man." There may have been mechanics on his mother's side, and possibly Millie re-partnered or the "old man" was John's maternal grandfather.
After returning to Lawrence, Kansas from the Vietnam War where he served as a marine, John worked as a mechanic and was eventually co-owner (with Mike Guenther) of a garage. John and Mary Campbell did not initially get along when they met. However, Heaven was interested in bringing together the lines of hunters and Men of Letters, and so a cherub intervened, causing the two to fall in love. John and Mary's marriage was not always happy, and at least once he moved out of the family home.
In 1973, as John went to a car yard to purchase a beige VW van but was persuaded by Dean, who had come from the future, to get the Impala instead. Soon after John was about to propose to Mary when Azazel killed him. Mary would make a deal with Azazel for John's life, in exchange for a promise to allow Azazel into her home in ten years' time. After John's resurrection, the two married in Reno on August 19, 1975, at Mary's instigation.
John was unaware of Mary's life as a hunter, but did learn of this when Sam and Dean return to 1978 protect their parents from the angel Anna, who had gone back in time to prevent Sam from being born by killing John and Mary. John would consent to being possessed by Michael, thinking it would help save Mary, allowing Michael to kill the Anna. Afterwards, John and Mary's memories are wiped of the encounter with the angels and Sam and Dean by Michael.
When Mary was murdered by Azazel in 1983, John raised their two sons, Sam and Dean, alone. Mary's mysterious death would become an obsession for John, who sought to learn what happened that night and kill the thing that pinned Mary to the ceiling. His quest for revenge would lead him Missouri Mosely, who revealed to John the world of the supernatural. After taking to the hunter life, John would move his family from town to town following leads on supernatural creatures (telling Sam that he was a traveling salesman), in the early days, often leaving the boys with other hunters like Pastor Jim or with babysisters he'd find at motels, but sometimes leaving them alone for days or even weeks to fend for themselves. Though he never settled anywhere for very long, John did establish a lock-up where he stored weapons (including landmines and grenades), curse boxes, and mementos from Sam and Dean's childhood. When Dean was six or seven, John began training him to use a shotgun, while keeping Sam is unaware of hunting and believes John is a salesman until he reads John's Journal when he is eight.
John would meet Bobby Singer who advised him about hunting, and also, at least by 1989, was looking after Sam and Dean while John was on the road. In 1991, he gave an 8-year-old Sam an amulet as a Christmas present to give to John, which he eventually gave to Dean..
In 1990, unbeknownst to Sam and Dean, John is injured on a hunt in Windom, Minnesota, and goes to the hospital where he meets Kate Milligan. During a brief fling, he gets her pregnant, although he doesn't meet his son -- Adam Milligan -- until he was 12 years old. John would have sporadic contact with Adam from 2002 until John's death in 2006. While John raised Sam and Dean in a very militant and non-conventional environment, it seemed he used his time with Adam to do more traditional father-son activities such as going to baseball games that he either couldn't or wouldn't do with his older two sons.
After Sam chose to leave the family and hunting and attend Stanford, John cut off contact with him, although he regularly visited Palo Alto to check up on him. He and Dean continued hunting together, with Dean going on hunts on his own as he got older. Around this time John and Bobby have a falling out -- Dean comments that the last time Bobby saw John he nearly "filled him with buckshot."
In 2005, John got a lead on the demon that was responsible for Mary's death, and he left Dean in order to pursue it. He tries to keep both Sam and Dean at a distance in order to protect them, even refusing to respond when Dean calls him when he and Sam return to Lawrence in response to Sam's visions. and when Sam calls to tell him Dean is dying.
Following a car crash caused by a demon, John offered his own life and the Colt to Azazel to save Dean. John revealed that he has known the "truth" about Sam all along. Before he died, John warned Dean that he may have to kill Sam if he couldn't save him.
Due to his deal with Azazel, when John Winchester died he was sent to Hell, where over the next ten months (equivalent of a hundred years) he was tortured by Alastair. Alastair later told Dean that John never "broke" -- that is never gave in to Alastair's temptation to protect himself by torturing others. Dean, by contrast, gave in after three months (equivalent of thirty years) of torture, thus breaking the first of the 66 Seals to free Lucifer that required that a righteous man shedding blood in Hell.
- Full name given on the tombstone in the alternative reality of episode 2.20: John E. Winchester
- At Comic-Con 2008, Eric Kripke confirmed that John's middle name was Eric.
- In 11.23 Alpha and Omega, Lady Antonia Bevell has cork board with information on the family. John's full name is written as John Edward Winchester. However as other information such as Sam's birth date are incorrect, the veracity of any of the information there is in doubt
22 years later
Dean visits Sam at Stanford, telling him that John has gone missing. Sam reluctantly accompanies Dean to Jericho where John was on a case, but while they find his motel room and belongings including John's Journal, he is not there.
At the end of a case with an old friend, the boys get a cell phone number. The message on it is from John, redirecting people to call Dean if they want help - the first sign the boys have that John is still alive.
Distressed at returning to his home town as they follow one of Sam's visions, Dean calls John but receives no answer. While investigating the haunting at their old home, Sam and Dean visit the garage John once owned with Mike Guenther. He directs them to Missouri Mosely. She helps the boys, but unbeknownst to them John Winchester is in town and in contact with Missouri. He tells her he can't contact them until he knows "the truth."
John sends Dean a text message with the coordinates of the Roosevelt Asylum in order to send them to hunt the ghost of Dr. Ellicott who is killing people there. They believe at first he's meeting them there but eventually realize that it’s just another job.
At the end of the episode Dean's cell phone rings and Sam answers it. To his shock, it is John.
Dean’s cell rings, and Sam answers to hear his father’s voice. John expresses sympathy at the murder of Jess, and for the first time reveals that he knows that what killed Mary and Jess was a demon. John tells Sam that he must stop looking for him and he starts to give Sam details of a new hunt, but Sam argues that he wants to help John hunt the demon. Dean grabs the phone and takes the details from John about couples who have gone missing near Burkittsville, Indiana.
Later, Sam leaves Dean, intending to travel to California and find John. However he returns after Dean goes missing on the case, saying that while he still wants to find John, he and Dean need to stick together.
With Dean near death, Sam tries to call John for help but gets no answer.
After the Winchesters' encounter with Max Miller - another boy who acquired powers after the demon visited him as a child and killed his mother -- Sam notes for the first time that they were lucky to have John as a father; where Max's father turned his anger and rage at the loss of his wife on to his son, John channeled his grief at the creatures that killed Mary while doing what he could to protect his children.
When Sam and Dean encounter Meg in Chicago and realize she is linked to the demon that killed Mary and Jess, Dean calls John. He later arrives and Dean embraces him warmly. John reveals that Meg was trying to kill him because he is hunting the demon with the intention of killing it, something he isn't sure is possible but which he is determined to try. Just as he reunites for the first time in years with Sam, greeting him warmly and showing some regret that it has been so long, they are attacked by daevas and are nearly killed before Sam manages to dispel them with flares. Afterward, Dean supports John when he says it is too dangerous for them all to be together, and they part with John promising that the fight is just beginning and that they will be a part of it.
Dean reveals to Sam that in 1989 when John was hunting a shtriga, he left Dean and Sam alone. When the shtriga attacked Sam, John returned just in time to save him. In the present, John sends them the coordinates to Fitchburg, Wisconsin, knowing the shtriga is there and that killing it is unfinished business for Dean.
Following up on the death of the hunter Daniel Elkins, Sam and Dean are surprised when John arrives. He tells them about the Colt, a gun that can kill any supernatural beings, which he now realizes Elkins had. Together they fight the vampires that killed Elkins and retrieve the Colt, although John and Sam clash almost immediately and argue. John tries to send Sam and Dean to safety while he confronts the vampires, but he is nearly killed. Sam and Dean defy him and return, saving his life. John then kills the vampire leader Luther with the Colt. After the hunt, John finally realizes that Sam and Dean are right and decides to continue hunting the demon with Sam and Dean.
As hunters they know start being killed, the Winchester begin to hunt for the demon in earnest, following signs that John has learned are associated with its appearance to Salvation, Iowa. Sam has a vision concerning a young woman and her baby, suggesting she is a target of the demon. John is angry that the boys hadn't told him about Sam's visions, but Dean stands up to him.
When Meg calls she demands the Colt, killing his friend Caleb as John listens. John plans a ruse to give her a fake Colt, as Sam and Dean take the real Colt to kill the demon. Both plans go wrong when John is captured and the demon eludes the boys.
Sam and Dean turn to Bobby for help. When Meg turns up, they capture her, and manage to find out John's location. The boys rescue John and take him to a remote cabin. It is while he is telling Dean he is proud of him that Dean gets suspicious and realizes that John is possessed by the Yellow-Eyed Demon. He taunts Dean and Sam and is killing Dean when John manages to wrest control for a moment and allow Sam to get control of the Colt. Sam, however, can't shoot to kill and the demon escapes after Sam only shoots John in the leg. As they escape in the Impala, a demon-possessed truck driver totals the car.
All the Winchesters are in the hospital, with Dean near death. When Sam discovers John is planning on pursuing the Yellow-Eyed Demon, they argue. John promises to hold off until Dean recovers, but actually summons the Yellow-Eyed Demon and makes a deal - his life for Dean's.
John has a final few moments with his sons. He tries to make peace with Sam, and then whispers a secret to Dean. The secret is later revealed to be John's warning to Dean: Dean needs to save Sam, but if he can't, Dean will have to kill his brother.
Moments later the deal is called in - John dies and Dean recovers.
Following their father's death, Sam insists on him and Dean taking a trip to their mother's grave, a memorial erected by an uncle that Sam and Dean have never met, to bury their father's dog-tags with her; this results in them getting caught up in a case involving the reanimated Angela Mason, returned to life as a zombie after she died the week before.
In a dream world created by a djinn where Mary was never killed, John died of a stroke at approximately the same time as he died in the real world. He apparently played in a softball team in this world.
When Dean learns that, in the world where he and Sam are not hunters, the people he saved are all dead, he goes to John's grave to talk about his frustration over the idea that they have to sacrifice their chance at normal lives for others. He admits in the end that, while he doesn't know what the John of this world would say, the father who raised him would remind him that he cannot let others suffer for his sake.
When Jake Talley manages to open the Devil's Gate in Wyoming using the Colt, John escapes from Hell and saves Dean from the Yellow-Eyed Demon. John distracts the demon by temporarily pulling him out of his meatsuit long enough for Dean to retrieve the Colt and finally kill him as the demon returns to his body. John then shares an emotional moment with his sons and disappears in a flash of white light.
Dean and Sam receive a call on one of John's old cellphones about a break-in at a lock-up where John kept various supernatural artifacts that he either couldn't or didn't want to destroy, along with some items from Sam and Dean's childhood such as an old soccer trophy of Sam's and the sawed-off shotgun Dean made in sixth grade.
A creature called a crocotta impersonates John's voice and contacts Dean on his cell phone, telling him about an exorcism that can allegedly kill the demon that holds his contract (in reality, the crocotta sends Dean after a grieving father that the crocotta has been calling posing as his daughter, the father assuming Dean to be his daughter's murderer). After the ruse is revealed, Dean confides to Sam how scared he is of going to Hell.
Back in 1973, Dean meets a young John Winchester, not long returned from Vietnam. Dean follows John to a car lot, where he suggests his father buy the '67 Chevy Impala instead of an old VW van. Dean introduces himself as Dean Van Halen and assures John that the car will still be "bad-ass when it's 40." Dean tries to get info about any mysterious events but John doesn't know anything. Dean follows John on a date with Mary Campbell - whom John is planning to propose to.
Later, as Mary decides to elope with John to escape a life of hunting, he is killed by Azazel. She makes a deal to bring John back to life in return for letting Azazel access to her house ten years in the future, when unknown to her he will feed demon blood to baby Sam.
Dean tells Sam of his encounter with John in 4.03 In the Beginning and describes him as having been surprisingly hopeful as a young man (like Mary). Sam wonders what the point was to Azazel killing him and the rest of their family, just to give Sam himself Demon Blood. Dean and Sam go to help Travis with a hunt; it appears that Travis was another hunter friend of John's, as he had known Sam and Dean when they were younger and says that John would've been proud of them sticking together the way that they are.
In flashbacks, John drops off Sam and Dean at a high school they attended for a few weeks while he was on a job. Throughout the flashbacks he calls Dean and picks them up after the job is done. John's face is never seen throughout the episode, mostly from the neck down in the Impala or as a silhouette.
As Dean tortures Alastair, he reveals that in the hundred years John spent in Hell, he never broke and accepted the deal that Dean was offered - that the torture would stop if he started doing it himself. If he had, this would have broken the first of the the 66 Seals - instead it was Dean who did.
Sam and Dean learn that John had a son with Kate Milligan, a nurse he met January 1990 when he was injured during a hunt. Adam Milligan was born on September 29, 1990. He didn't have any contact with John until he was twelve, after which John showed up at some of Adam's various birthdays to buy him his first beer or take him to baseball games. Adam last saw John "a couple of years ago", so perhaps some time in 2007. In 1990, John killed a ghoul; now its children want revenge on John, and use Adam and Kate to lure John in. Adam and Kate both die.
Castiel takes Sam and Dean to 1978 to save their parents from Anna, who is trying to kill them. John is shocked to learn the truth about the supernatural, and that Mary was raised as a hunter. When Sam reveals he and Dean were also raised that way, John, unaware of their true identity, criticizes their father. Sam gets a chance to defend his father and says he now understands better that John tried his best, and that he loves him.
When Anna and Uriel attack the family, John is injured. Michael appears and asks for John's permission to take him over as a vessel and save Mary. John consents. Later Michael erases all memory of the events from John and Mary.
In 1958, before his father leaves for his initiation into the Men of Letters, he visits John in bed, accidentally waking him up. John asks what Henry's pin is and Henry promises to explain one day before putting on John's music box and leaving.
In 2013, Henry arrives looking for John and wanting his help to protect a mysterious box and defeat the demon Abaddon. He is shocked to find Sam and Dean instead and to learn that John is dead. Henry is also disgusted to learn that his son became a hunter as the Men of Letters look down on them. Sam and Dean are unsure about their grandfather as John had always believed Henry had abandoned him and hated him for it, though they realize that perhaps he never made it home instead. Searching through John's Journal for information on Abaddon, the Winchesters learn that John once tortured a demon who made his bones working for Abaddon and learned that Abaddon is a Knight of Hell. Henry finds that John's Journal is actually the journal he had ordered for himself before he disappeared. Henry reads through the Journal, learning of John's life as a hunter and tries to return to the past to raise John in a better life, but is stopped by Dean. Henry is killed defeating Abaddon, explaining why he never returned to John, but tells Sam and Dean that after meeting them, he is proud of the man John became. Sam and Dean are left wondering what would have happened had Henry been there to raise John. They also realize that John and Mary were brought together by Cupid, not only for them to conceive Sam and Dean, but to unite the Winchester and Campbell bloodlines: the brains and brawn of the supernatural world.
After Dean is caught stealing food, John tells the arresting deputy to let Dean "rot in jail." This leads to Dean spending two months at a boys home, before John and Sam come to retrieve him for a job.
Crowley approaches Dean for help as he is looking for the First Blade and the only demon who knew about it had been hunted down by John. From John's Journal and information at John's lock-up, Dean learns that John hunted and exorcised the demon with a hunter named Tara. Tara reveals that she and John had a sexual relationship and that while the demon did mention the First Blade, John never believed it was real.
While on a final assignment before he is properly initiated into the Men of Letters, Henry Winchester begins to show doubt about joining the group. He confesses to Josie Sands his worry that if something were to happen to him, he doesn't know who would take care of John and his mother.
Sam and Dean are investigating monster-related kidnappings at an all-girls academy, and find themselves confronted with a musical based on Chuck Shurley's Supernatural book series. A girl plays John in the musical, and the songs "The Road So Far" and "A Single Man Tear" mention the way John's raising of Sam and Dean have negatively impacted their sense of autonomy and free will. At the end of the play, several cast members, including Mary, Bobby, and John, perform a rendition of "Carry On Wayward Son."
While at a bar, Sam and Dean tell Castiel a story about a time when they and John were investigating a haunting on Long Island, New York. They begged him to take them to New York City, and that night Dean snuck off to visit CBGBs despite being underage. There, a woman invited him to drink with her and her friends. He got drunk for the first time, so much that according to Dean, "the room starts to spin, and I feel like I'm going to puke forever." John found Dean and rescued him from the situation, intimidating everyone in the bar with his militaristic appearance and tone of voice. Dean recalls telling John that he embarrassed him, and that he hated John, to which John replies, "Son, if you don't like me, that's fine. It's not my job to be liked. It's my job to raise you right." Castiel asks Sam and Dean if they love their father, and they both say they do.
While driving to Quaker Valley, Oregon, to check out a possible case, believing Sam to be exhausted, Dean tells him to get in the back and get some rest. Suddenly Sam is awakened by Judy Collins's "Someday Soon" playing on the radio. He asks Dean what he's listening to, only to find the younger version of John Winchester in the driver's seat. Sam believes he's having another vision. John says he is only here to deliver a message -- that the Darkness is coming and only the boys can stop it. Sam insists that there should be a way to stop the Darkness and that John needs to tell him, but John only answers, “God helps those who help themselves.” Sam asks John one last question before he wakes up: “Who are you?”
When Dean finds the obituary of a wrestler John was a fan of, he and Sam reminisce that watching wrestling was one of the few moments they could remember seeing him actually happy. Dean considered their time at wrestling shows as the nicest thing John ever did for them.
As they are returning from cases involving ghouls, wraiths, and sirens, Dean comments on how John used to love the weapon he was carrying, a bat wrapped with barbed wire which was covered in raw pieces of the monsters they were hunting, as is Dean.
- A draft script of the 1.01 Pilot places John's age at 30 when Mary dies (therefore early '50s at present).
- John's email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, could be read to refer to his birthdate - December 1946. This fits with the use of Mary's date of death throughout the show (it is used as a lock combination, or referred to as 110283 or 1183). This would place John at age 60 in 2006.
- John cannot plausibly have been born any later than 1957 (so as to have been 18, and in the Marines, in 1975). Considering the notes below about Vietnam force reduction, the likelihood is high that he turned 18 before 1971 (in which case his birth year would be 1953 or earlier). This is supported by the fact that he is clearly at least a few years old in 8.12 As Time Goes By.
- In an alternate reality experienced by Dean, John's gravestone indicates he was born in 1954. This would mean he was in his early fifties at his death.  Henry Winchester, John's father, disappeared when he was four years old in 1958. This confirms that the year he was born was 1954.
Dean: Well, yeah, but last time we saw you, I mean, you did threaten to blast him full of buckshot. Cocked the shotgun and everything.
Bobby: Yeah, well, what can I say? John just has that effect on people.Dean: Yeah, I guess he does.
John tended to work alone and avoid other hunters, although many appeared to know him or know of him and he seemed to have a good reputation as a hunter. According to Jo's Journal, John used to visit the Roadhouse before her father's death in 1995. Ellen infers that her husband's death was John's fault - they were both usually solo hunters who were hunting together when Bill died. While in Heaven, Ash told Dean and Sam that he searched for John Winchester when he arrived, but he reported that he hasn't seen John.
- Bobby Singer - Knew John since the boys were small. The last time he saw John alive, they argued and Bobby pointed and cocked a shotgun at him.
- Adam Milligan - John's son, the product of a brief relationship John had with Kate Milligan.
- Kate Milligan - A nurse who slept with John after a ghoul hunt, causing Adam to be born.
- Jim Murphy - Knew John since the boys were small.
- Caleb - Weapons and munitions supplier for hunters.
- Missouri Mosely - A psychic he sought help from after Mary's death and the person who first told him of the supernatural.
- Deacon - Was in the Marines with John.
- Bill Harvelle - Was on a hunt with John when he was killed.
- Ellen Harvelle - Part of the hunting world, she also partly blamed John for her husband's death.
- Daniel Elkins - A hunter John had fallen out with.
- Martin Creaser - A hunter who had a mental breakdown.
- Fred Jones - A psychokinetic John was acquainted with.
- Tara - A hunter John worked with briefly and had a fling with.
- Joe Barton - A former police officer who worked with John to kill a ghoul in 1990.
John's Military History
In 2.09 Croatoan, Dean says that John was a Corporal in the Marine Corps, with company 'Echo 2/1' (2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, Echo company). Sam reiterates this to Stan Thompson in 8.08 Hunteri Heroici.
In 2.19 Folsom Prison Blues, we meet Deacon, who served in the Corps with John, and saved his life.
Speculation on Rank
In 4.03 In the Beginning, John is referred to as 'Corporal' by the man welcoming him back home in the diner.
Speculation on Dates
It's unlikely John graduated from high school. The badges/medals/photos in his journal (see below) suggest he was a rifleman. High school graduates were almost always sent to aviation or communication schools, rather than combat arms.
The Tet Offensive, that marked the escalation of the North Vietnamese offensive against the the South Vietnamese, along with the United States Armed Forces and their allies, took place in January 1968. It is possible that this got John all fired up with patriotic fervor and he decided to screw school and enlist in the Marines. If he joined with his parents' permission, he could have been seventeen at this point. At that stage in the war, recruits were given four months of training then shipped straight out to Vietnam, so he would have been there by June 1968, by which time American bombing was already being curtailed and negotiations were beginning. Even so, it would be another year until troop withdrawal began.
Given the timing of the events in 4.03 In the Beginning (April 1973), and the knowledge that he'd just returned from Vietnam, he would've had to have joined in 1971 in order to have served 2 years. If the headstone in 2.20 What Is and What Should Never Be is true, then John would have turned 17 in April 1971, and this is the earliest he could have joined the Marines. Therefore, John didn't finish high school.
John's dog tags are buried by Sam at Mary's grave. They have the following printed on them:
John's social security number suggests he was born in, or obtained his first job in, Indiana (source) (Although most children born today receive a SSN at birth or within their first year, this was not common practice when John was a child.)
Ribbons and Medals in the Journal
- USMC Expert Rifle Badge
- The Army Aviation School Fort Rucker Pin
- Bronze Star (fourth highest award for bravery, heroism or meritorious service)
- Purple Heart (wounded)
- Good Conduct Metal (U.S. Marine Corp version)
- Vietnam Service Medal (served more than thirty consecutive days, or 60 non-consecutive days, in the Republic of Vietnam between the dates of November 15, 1961 and March 28, 1973.)
In 1.01 Pilot, the Combat Action Ribbon was briefly seen in the position of the Vietnam Service Medal. For all subsequent episodes, the ribbons have not changed from the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Metal, and Vietnam Service Medal.
These are all the official military campaigns for the Marines in Vietnam from 1970-73:
- Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970 : November 1, 1969 to April 30, 1970
- Sanctuary Counteroffensive : May 1 to June 30, 1970
- Vietnam Counteroffensive, Phase VII : July 1, 1970 to June 30, 1971
- Consolidation I : July 1 to November 30, 1971
- Consolidation II : December 1, 1971 to March 29, 1972
- Vietnam Cease Fire : March 30, 1972 to March 28, 1973
Although the Marines were in Vietnam until the end of the war (assisting in the evacuation of US embassies, for example,) ground force reduction began in July of 1971. However, if Dean's statement was correct and John was in the 2nd Battalion 1st Marines (Echo 2/1), then he would have been reassigned to Camp Pendleton in June 1971.
In 2.19 Folsom Prison Blues Dean states that John served in the "Echo 2/1".
Looking at the official Marine website's history of the 2nd Battalion 1st Marines ("Echo 2/1") , it confirms that, if John had joined as soon as he turned 17 (April 1971, see above), he would have spent practically no time in-country.
In April 1971 the battalion was sent to Da Nang to join the 3rd Marine Amphibious Brigade (IIIMAB). The battalion was in Da Nang for three months, until June 1971, and then it was sent to the newly-established Camp Pendleton in California. So John would have spent the majority of his military life on a safe, State-side base and not in the jungles of Vietnam.
- In one version of the pilot script, Sam and Dean found John dead on the ceiling.S1Com,p.11
- After having given the Impala to Dean, John drives a GMC Sierra Grande with the Kansas license plate CSG 8R3.
- John appears in a flashback in the spin-off novel Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon, where he hunts a fire demon in San Francisco in 1989 (the Campbells, unknown to John, having defeated and banished the same demon in 1969), with Dean, Sam, and Castiel permanently defeating the demon in 2009. His presence is also hinted at in the 1969 flashback, when Deanna Campbell reflects on a mechanic that Mary is acquainted with back home.
- Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Negan on The Walking Dead, has joked about a crossover between Supernatural and The Walking Dead along with Jensen Ackles and fellow Walking Dead actor Michael Cudlitz. Negan's signature weapon Lucille, a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, appears in 12.15 Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell.
- John's Cell Phone
- John's Journal
- John's Lock-up
- John's Truck / Truckzilla
- John Winchester Fanfiction
- Winchester (family)
John in Fandom
- Cast a giant shadow: John in Asylum by astri13
- Choices and consequences: John in Something Wicked by sargraf
- Fallen warrior: John in Everybody Loves a Clownby morgan32
- John in Home by dotfic
- John in Season One by phantomas
- John Winchester: Dead Beat Dad and Man Whore by missyjack
- John's digression from champion to adversary by kinda_tempted
- On the dangers of normal: John in the Pilot by deannie
- The John Winchester Parenting Handbook by ellipsisblack
- The vanishing act in reverse: John in Shadows by phantomas
- 8.12 As Time Goes By
- 4.03 In the Beginning
- 5.14 My Bloody Valentine
- 5.16 Dark Side of the Moon
- 4.03 In the Beginning
- 12.01 Keep Calm and Carry On
- 5.13 The Song Remains the Same
- 4.19 Jump the Shark
- 3.08 A Very Supernatural Christmas
- 4.13 After School Special
- 7.10 Death's Door
- 3.08 A Very Supernatural Christmas
- 1.08 Bugs
- 1.22 Devil's Trap
- 1.09 Home
- 1.12 Faith
- 2.01 In My Time of Dying
- 4.16 On the Head of a Pin
- 2.20 What Is and What Should Never Be
- 2.06 No Exit
- 2.04 Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things