John was born in Carthage, Texas to Arthur Kovacs and Paula Unsworth - a mechanic and journalist respectively. The pair had a brief romance in the summer of '80 when Paula visited Texas to conduct research for a story regarding the Sharpstown scandals a number of years prior. Paula soon fell pregnant and agreed to stay states-side until the birth of the child before she returned to England, leaving John in his father's care.
John's early life was one of burgeoning self-sufficiency as his father, destroyed by the love of his life leaving him behind, struggled to hold down a job due to his emotional instability and ongoing battle with alcoholism. John was never subject to any abuse but learned from a young age to maintain a practical distance from those in his lives in order to remain functional when they would inevitably be pushed away by his callousness and his father's drunken antics. At 18, John moved from Texas to New York where he survived through petty thievery and, struggling to find work, soon joined the US Army.
John became a member of the 10th Mountain Division and served a four-year stint, having quickly been promoted to Lance Corporal after basic training due to his natural aptitude for firearms and mountain warfare - his father, when sober, had been fond of hunting and had taught John to handle rifles, handguns and to survive in the wild. He was involved in the opening stages of Operation Enduring Freedom and saw, relative to most modern western soldiers, fairly extensive combat. Disillusioned with the efficacy of US operations, John quit the Army after his four-year initial commitment ended.
John found himself unable to settle down for some time, until he eventually found a job training as a mechanic. His boss, Earl 'Dusty' Ridge, was the President of a small, mono-chapter Motorcycle Club called the Devil's Dozen and John soon found himself patched in as a member after helping his new brothers deal with some volatile locals.
Following a high-profile investigation and two large-scale shootouts with rival criminal organisations, the Devil's Dozen MC found it's membership decimated. John, with the aid of an acquaintance made during his time as an Enforcer, fled the States and headed for Chernarus under the assumed identity of Jack Churchill - a name he chose after learning about the World War Two hero of the same name - and took up work as a lumberjack.