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For the version of the character in the TV series, see James Greer (TV series).

Vice Admiral James "Jim" Greer (Ret.) was the CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence and personally recruited both John Clark and Jack Ryan into the CIA. In 1988, Greer was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and ultimately succumbed to the disease.


James Greer was member of the U.S. Navy, holding a job as a naval intelligence specialist. Greer eventually got married and had a son, Robert White Greer. Over the next twenty years, he was stationed across the country at several installations such as Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Air Station Jacksonville and regularly spent months away at sea. He also grew close friends with Dutch Maxwell and Casimir Podolski, all three of which would eventually achieve the rank of Rear Admiral. Greer's son later commissioned into the U.S. Marine Corps but was tragically killed during the early years of the Vietnam War. Greer was devastated at the loss of his son, eventually leading to the end of his marriage.

Without Remorse

In 1970, Greer started working for the CIA. On Memorial Day, Greer visited his son's grave at Arlington National Cemetery and was joined by Maxwell and Podolski. After paying their respects to a passing funeral detail, Maxwell and Podolski asked Greer if he had been briefed on Operation Boxwood Green. Peaking Greer's interest, they told him that its purpose was to rescue high-value American POWs from a secret camp in Vietnam, specifically Robin Zacharias who had possessed highly classified information and prevent their transfer to the Soviet Union. Greer then oversaw the operation and with the help of Maxwell, recruited former SEAL John Kelly in the CIA Special Activities Division to lead it. Unfortunately, a KGB mole informed the Soviets of the rescue mission, compromising it. However, Kelly managed to capture Nikolay Grishanov while escaping from the camp and used him as leverage to negotiate the transfer of Zacharias and the other prisoners to the Hanoi Hilton, where they will be confirmed as alive and eventually returned. Greer later helped Kelly fake his death and change his identity to John Clark to work for the CIA full-time.

Patriot Games

Ten years later in 1981, Greer had become the Deputy Director of Intelligence for the CIA. Following a ULA attack on the family of Jack Ryan, Greer personally recruited him into the CIA to work as an analyst at Langley. With Greer's help, Ryan was able to successfully stop the terrorists from another assassination attempt on the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Red Rabbit

To Be Added

The Hunt for Red October

In 1984, Greer was the direct supervisor of Jack Ryan. He provided advice to Ryan regarding the looming threat of the Red October submarine.

The Cardinal of the Kremlin

To Be Added

Clear and Present Danger

In 1988, Greer was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. While hospitalized, Greer choose Ryan to fill in for him as the acting Deputy Director of Intelligence for the CIA. Greer succumbed to the disease a few months later. He was buried beside his son Robert in Arlington National Cemetery. With his death, Ryan was promoted to Greer's fulltime position.





  • Following his death in the novels, a Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the USS James Greer (DDG-102) was named after him. The ship shares the same designation as the real life USS Sampson (DDG-102).
  • He had a taste for coffee, and was never seen without a cup of it, having a coffee machine in his office.
  • Greer retains the same role in the films as he does in the novels. One notable difference is that the chronology of the movies was altered. Unlike the novels, the Patriot Games film is a sequel to The Hunt for Red October film rather than a prequel. This causes Greer to bring Ryan out of retirement in Patriot Games to rejoin the CIA instead of Greer recruiting him for the first time as he did in the novel.
  • In the Clear and Present Danger film, Greer meets Clark for the first time, despite having recruited him into the CIA in the novel, Without Remorse.