Jack "The Giant Killer" Archer was a mercenary who later became a combat pilot, soldier, and RDF Wolf Squadron leader during the First Robotech War. He was a close friend of Roy Fokker, although he was separated from Roy in between the SDF-1's Space Fold from Macross Island and Roy's funeral six months later. There he joined with the ship once again. He was a fighter in the Malcontent Uprisings after the war, where he had a personal feud against the war lord Zeraal. The latest known source of his life ends with him in deep space after a Malcontent Fold, far from most chances of survival.
The Global War
Jack was born just before the start of the Global War, and his parents died shortly into the conflict, leaving him an orphan. His country's military drafted him at a young age and found he had a natural talent as a fighter pilot, a position he enjoyed as it kept him out of the destruction on the ground. His government soon dissolved and he commandeered one of their fighters, eventually becoming a mercenary. He fought for all sides of the conflict, depending on who paid him more, and he became a highly sought after freelancer. During that time met another famous pilot of the war, Roy Fokker, and the two became good friends. They met repeatedly throughout the war, sometimes as enemies and sometimes as allies.
After the Macross Incident forced the war to a close, work dried up for Jack, and he soon became able to enjoy his life once more. He began working on Macross Island on reconstructing the crashed battle fortress. It was during work one day that he was approached by Roy again, who was now working with the RDF on Project Valkyrie. Roy told him that he was testing a high performance fighter that could outgun anything that Archer had ever flown, so Jack made him prove it, which he did. Following this, Roy revealed he had actually come to recruit Archer, an offer Jack accepted eagerly. (Robotech: Battlecry)
Jack graduated from the Robotech Academy in record time because of his capabilities as a combat pilot, although he had less than spectacular grades due his own hatred of studying. He was given a combat assignment with Wolf Squadron based on Macross Island, something that came in handy for the pilots when the Zentraedi came to retake the SDF-1.
First Robotech War
Archer was seriously injured during the SDF-1's escape. Confined to a hospital bed for several months, he was eventually cleared for duty and relocated to Alaska Base. When he learned that Roy Fokker had been killed aboard the SDF-1, he visited the SDF-1 to attend the funeral of his fallen comrade. Before he could leave he was caught in the middle of a battle between the forces of the Zentraedi warlord Khyron and the SDF-1 over the city of Toronto. He reunited with Wolf Squadron, which had been split in half by the SDF's fold maneuver, and joined his friend and comrade Izzy Randal in the defense of the SDF-1. During the battle, the SDF-1 deployed the Omni-Directional Barrier System to defend against Khyron's forces, and Wolf Squadron joined in the effort to repel the attackers. They were forced to retreat when the system overloaded, destroying the city.
A short time later, Archer participated in what was to be the final battle of the First Robotech War. Following the devastation of Earth by the Zentraedi, Wolf Squadron joined the SDF-1 and the remainder of the Robotech Defense Force in the assault on the five million strong armada. Bolstered by the forces of the rogue Zentraedi admirals Breetai, Azonia, and later Khyron, they launched a desperate last attack on the Zentraedi fleet. During the battle, Wolf Squadron suffered heavy casualties at the hands of the Zentraedi Ace known as Kiyora, who was defeated by Archer for the first time in her service.
Following the end of the First Robotech War, Archer was sent on missions to quell troubles in the wasteland. Although his initial assignments were predominantly focused against malcontent Zentraedi and scavengers, Archer would participate in various counter operations against the forces of Khyron, whose brief alliance with the RDF had ended. He was trying to sow discontent across the wasteland as he plotted the destruction of the SDF-1, but after an incident in Flood City that resulted in a downed Catseye Recon, the RDF were alerted to the presence of another, more organized, and much more dangerous Zentraedi Warlord: Zeraal. Where Khyron was obsessed with the destruction of the SDF-1, Zeraal had much more ambitious intentions. He wanted to take over the Earth, slaughter humanity, and prepare for the arrival of the Robotech Masters.
The Zeraal Campaign
Zeraal's forces quickly became involved in the fiercest clashes between the Zentraedi and RDF since the war. Escalating what had once been minor uprisings into an all-out war in the wasteland, Zeraal quickly became the new primary enemy of Base-6. During one operation, Zeraal's forces tried to murder Rick Hunter and Lynn Minmei in an effort to demoralize the RDF. In another, Izzy Randal was shot down by Kiyora, who wanted to kill Jack for her earlier defeat. Both operations ended in failure, with Hunter, Minmei, and Izzy surviving thanks to Archer's intervention. These actions made him Zeraal's greatest rival.
After spearheading several successful counter operations against Zeraal's forces, Jack Archer and Hiro Ishi arrived in the town of Little Mesa, where Zentraedi under the command of Skarrde and Zeraal's lieutenant Gorian ordered the massacre of civilians trapped in shelters. This enraged Hiro, who went so far as to attempt to murder a crippled Skarrde. Archer intervened, turning on his friend to protect the wounded Zentraedi, who would later defect from Zeraal's army as a result. A short time later, Archer would also avenge the deaths of the civilians in Little Mesa by killing Gorian in sight of Base-6. (Robotech: Battlecry).
By 2015, he was the commander of Wolf Squadron. During a standard patrol with his squadmates, he and his men were ambushed by unaffiliated Malcontents and found themselves outnumbered and outgunned. In need of support, Archer sent out repeated distress signals, which was received by Rick Hunter. They quickly turned the tide and captured the rebels. ("Robotech: From the Stars 0: Promises")
The Zeraal Campaign would reach it's conclusion in 2015. Following the destruction of the SDF-1 and 2 by Khyron, Zeraal would launch a direct assault on Base 6. Archer headed the defense of the base, successfully foiling the attack by killing Kiyora, who was Zeraal's field commander following the death of Gorian and Skarrde's betrayal. After this, Base-6 began a massive counterattack against Zeraal, with Jack spearheading the effort. In the end, Chase ordered him to eliminate Zeraal whatever the costs, and he launched a direct assault on Zentraedi City, Zeraal's stronghold. There he was trapped in a space fold with the renegade warlord and taken to the outskirts of the solar system, where the two finally met face to face. Zeraal congratulated him for being a worthy adversary and making it as far as he had. However he then started to gloat, claiming that even if Archer succeeded in killing him, he would never be able to return to Earth and die far from home. Archer replied simply:
"If that's what it takes to kick you off my planet, then so be it."
In one final battle, Archer slew the conqueror, and was left adrift across space. During what he perceived to be his last moments, what appeared to be a Zentraedi ship defolded near his mecha. Whather this was a rescue ship or an enemy vessel and whether he survived or not are both unclear in all known sources. (Robotech: Battlecry)
Archer was a career soldier, though he had a reputation for going against authority. He was good-spirited and courageous, putting his own life on the line for the sake of others and even being willing to die in order to end the threat posed by Zeraal to the Earth. However he could also be cocky, competitive, and smug.
Archer had a fair sense of justice, shown when he offered Skarrde a fair trial rather then summary execution as Hiro would have wanted. He was also fiercely loyal to his friends, going so far as to defy Commander Chase and launch a rescue mission for Hiro when he was trapped behind enemy lines, even when he could be punished with a court martial. His skills as a pilot often saved him from punishment from his superiors.
According to a conversation between Archer and Randal, he hated to study, and would often sleep through classes at the Robotech Academy.
Behind the scenes
In the secondary canon game Robotech: Invasion, in the Bygone Marshes level, there is some graffiti on one of the pillars near the beginning of the level stating "Jack Archer Lives!". Shooting the message grants the player multiple items. Any other significance is debatable.