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Robert Jefferson "Robby" Jackson is a character that appears in several novels and films in the Ryanverse. He served as the Vice President under Jack Ryan's. He was later assassinated in late 2004 while on the campaign trail.


Robby Jackson, who hails from Birmingham, Alabama, became the 46th President of the United States in the fictional Jack Ryan universe. He was inaugurated on January 20, 2001 as successor to Jack Ryan. Robby is the son of the Reverend Hosiah Jackson who lost his first wife to a massive stroke and remarried one of his parishioners. Robby has two brothers and a half-brother, Timothy, who is a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Light Infantry.

Meeting Jack Ryan

Robby first met Jack Ryan while he was still a Lieutenant Commander, and recovering from an injury that had left him grounded from being a Navy pilot. During his six month recovery, Lt. Commander Jackson was assigned by the Navy to be an instructor at Annapolis in the engineering department. Robby and Jack befriended one another during a kendo match while Robby was still in a cast from his flight accident. The friendship would blossom and endure for years to come, to the point Jack would consider Robby "closer than a brother ever could have been".

Further adventures

In Patriot Games, Robby came to his friend's aid when he needed emotional support when terrorists of the rogue Irish Ulster Liberation Army targeted Cathy and Sally, as well as Jack himself, for death for Jack's interference in the attempted assassination of the Prince and Princess of Wales, and kidnap of their infant child. Robby never left his friend's side, and ultimately things came to a head when terrorists attacked Jack's house, when Robby, his wife Sissy, and the Prince and Princess were visiting Jack for a barbecue. Robby, Jack and the Prince worked together to eliminate the terrorists once and for all. In The Hunt for Red October, Robby now piloted an F-14 Tomcat with VF-41 "The Black Aces" aboard the USS John F. Kennedy. During this latest tour of duty, a Yak-38 Forger from the Kiev sends an AA-2 Atoll missile that detonates dangerously close to Robby's plane. While his RIO was severely wounded, Robby made it back without further complications.


In Clear and Present Danger, Robby has now begun serving stints at The Pentagon. Partially through Robby, Ryan learns about the CIA operations in Colombia and when he attempts to fix it, Robby provides transportation.

In The Sum of All Fears, Robby is the CAG aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. It is mentioned that he had served in the Gulf War.

In Debt of Honor, Robby has now risen to the rank of Rear Admiral, and serves as Operations Officer ("J-3") for the Joint Chiefs, and briefly takes command of a Carrier Task Force, led by the USS John C. Stennis, during the Second War with Japan.

In Executive Orders, Robby returned to his role as "J-3", though with Ryan's ascendancy to the Presidency (following Torijiro Sato's suicide attack that effectively wiped out the entire government), Robby was promoted to the Pentagon's Director of Operations, with the rank of Vice Admiral. Robby would remain a stalwart friend and advisor to President Ryan through the coming troubles, with Ryan (jokingly) insisting at one point that Robby stop calling him "sir" or he would have him demoted.

In The Bear and the Dragon, Robby had retired from the Navy, and Ryan, wanting someone he can trust as his right-hand and successor for when he retires, nominates Robby to become Vice President of the United States, a position he accepts.


As explained in The Teeth of the Tiger and Dead or Alive Ryan planned to retire, so Jackson ran to succeed him with Ryan believing he could leave the country in Robby's capable hands. Many correctly believed Robby would be a great President and worthy successor to Ryan.

Eventually the election whittled down to Robby and Ed Kealty; Ryan's political nemesis, as the only major candidates left standing. Ryan and Robby met six days before the election, and it was confirmed Robby was comfortably ahead in the polls and all-but-guaranteed to win.

However, this would be the last time they ever spoke to each-other – while travelling in Mississippi on October 6, 2004, Jackson would be assassinated via gunshot by Duane Farmer, a 67-year-old "redneck" Ku Klux Klan member. Farmer was immediately tackled and beaten into submission by another spectator before Robby's Secret Service detail intervened and arrested Farmer.

With Robby's sudden death, and no time to re-set the election with a new candidate, Kealty won the election and became the President by forfeit.


Robby is immediately survived by his wife, Sissy (the two never had children, due to Sissy's medical condition), who still often visits the Ryan family.

Farmer was immediately tried, and sentenced to death. He is currently awaiting execution on Mississippi's Death Row. There is a rumor that President Kealty is planning a blanket commutation of all death sentences in America – something Ryan has promised to make sure would have suicidal political consequences for Kealty.

The population mourned Robby's death, believing Farmer's actions were "disgusting and criminal". The Navy held a memorial service, shown on national television, at the Naval Academy, where Ryan and Robby first met. Robby's funeral was held at his father's – Reverend Hosiah Jackson's – church; with Father Hosiah, despite his sadness, preaching forgiveness at his son's funeral.

Robby's friends from the extended Ryan family were devastated at his death, but none more so than Jack Ryan himself. Ryan had a complete emotional meltdown from which he never truly recovered. This was shown, as he was so angry at Farmer he felt he could kill him himself (he regularly entertains ideas of brutally murdering him personally), and so sad over Robby's death he publicly broke down at the memorial service and wept for his friend.

Ultimately, the bitterness of Robby's death, and on a larger scale the inadequate leadership and gross mismanagement of the Kealty administration, would lead Jack to announce his candidacy for a second term as President.