An experienced sergeant in the USMC, Recker is a member of Tombstone Squad, an elite four-man team of Marines based on the aircraft carrier USS Valkyrie. He is later promoted to squad leader when William Dunn, the previous squad leader, is killed in action in the first mission of the game.
Recker and his team are sent to the Azerbaijani capital of Baku to receive intelligence on relations between Russia and China. While the team is intercepted by Russian troops, they escape Baku. SSgt. William Dunn, the squad leader, dies during the escape, and Recker is made the new squad leader.
Tombstone, with Recker as its leader, is sent to Shanghai to extract Chinese VIPs and CIA agent Laszlo Kovic, in the midst of severe civil unrest in the country due to the assassination of the Chinese presdient, Jin Jie. As they attempt to leave, the unrest in Shanghai eventually turns into full scale conflict, and the team are caught in the crossfire. One of the VIPs is severely wounded, but Recker and his squad manage to commandeer a Chinese helicopter and get them to safety. Recker and his squad then fight through the streets of Shanghai to escape to the Valkyrie via the Yangzte River. However, they also bring with them a plethora of Chinese refugees attempting to escape the fighting. Problems are further compounded when the city (and as a result, the Valkyrie) is affected by an EMP detonated over the cityscape. During the fighting, Admiral Chang Wei seizes power and declares himself the next president of China.
South China Sea
A day after the Shanghai mission, Recker and his squad are briefed by Cpt. Garrison, the captain of the Valkyrie, that another carrier, the USS Titan, was attacked by the Chinese for the data it collected during the violence in Shanghai. Tombstone squad, with Kovic accompanying them, was dispatched to retrieve whatever information they could before the Titan completely sank. However, while aboard the Titan, the squad realizes that the Valkyrie is under attack by Chinese naval forces, and they engage Chinese troops as they fight their way back to the carrier. They eventually defeat and repel the Chinese, but Kovic dies during the fighting. Hannah, one of the two VIPs Recker and his squad extracted from Shanghai, reveals herself as a Chinese Secret Service agent, but working against Admiral Chang's government. She is added as the fourth member of Tombstone squad under the order of Captain Garrison.
Recker and his team are dispatched, along with a small contingency of other Marines, to sabotage the Changi Airport in Singapore. The Chinese had seized the city, and now block safe passage of the Singapore Strait with their aircraft and use of said airport. During the mission, Irish, one of the veteran squad members, deeply distrusts Hannah's motives, but is encouraged to try and forge on by Pack, the rookie of the squad (save for Hannah). Recker and his team eventually make their way to the airport and destroy a number of Chinese fighters. They also mark the airport for an airstrike, which renders it unusable. However, they are captured when an explosion disables their escape vehicle. Both Recker and Irish are stunned as the vehicle flips over, and Pack is seen unconscious, presumed deceased. Hannah suddenly appears with several PLA soldiers, capturing Recker and Irish as a double agent.
Recker and Irish are imprisoned, interrogated, and tortured for several days in a high security Chinese prison in the snow-capped Kunlun Mountains. Admiral Chang personally questions both Marines, but they reveal no information. Recker awakens some time later to his cellmate breaking out of their shared cell, and beckoning him to aid him. He reveals himself to be Dimitri "Dima" Mayakovsky, a disgraced Russian FSB operative and one of the protagonists of the previous game, Battlefield 3. Recker and Dima stealthily reach the control hub for their whole cellblock, and instigate a riot by freeing the prisoners to cover their escape. The duo then reunite with Irish. However, as the three continue their escape, they are once again ambushed by PRC troops, with Hannah in tow. Hannah suddenly turns on the Chinese, also revealing that she was simply pretending to be a double agent back in Singapore to ensure Recker's and Irish's survival. Irish is outraged by her deception, but Dima reminds them that they must escape. The four eventually escape the prison, and fight through the prison's outer security on the slopes of the Kunlun Mountains to reach a cable car. A Chinese attack helicopter intercepts the four halfway down the mounting, shooting down the car. While Recker, Irish, and Hannah survives, Dima dies.
The three eventually make their way to the western Chinese city of Tashgar. US forces have occupied the city, but it is currently under siege by Russian forces. Recker, Irish, and Hannah fight their way into the city, where they meet up with the commanding officer of the Americans, Maj. Greenland. Greenland says that she can help them transport to the Valkyrie, but that they must first disable Russian anti-aircraft guns placed near a dam, which are deterring supply drops. The three make their way to the damn, and eventually destroy it, nearly being killed by the flooding. They survive though, and Maj. Greenland has a cargo plane airlift them to the Valkyrie, which has since traveled to the Red Sea to pass through the Suez Canal.
Due to the Suez Canal's strategic position, Chinese forces have attacked it in an attempt to capture it. US forces, the Valkyrie included, have arrived to oppose them. As Recker, Irish, and Hannah arrive, they find out that the Valkyrie is being boarded by Chinese forces. They use parachutes to land on the carrier, and eventually fight off the Chinese forces. Tombstone is once again reunited when the three learn that Pack survived Singapore and is alive and well aboard. Garrison then briefs Tombstone, stating that the second VIP they extracted from Singapore is in fact a wounded Jin Jie, who survived his assassination attempt, and that the assassination was ordered by Admiral Chang as an excuse for a war with the US. Chinese forces attempt to board the Valkyrie again, but Jin Jie uses his popularity with the Chinese people to convince PRC forces aboard to cease hostilities. They do so, shocked and amazed that Jin Jie is alive, but Admiral Chang suddenly appears aboard his own personal warship and fires on the Valkyrie in an attempt to kill Jin Jie once and for all and bury the truth. Garrison then dispatches Recker, Irish, and Hannah to destroy Chang's warship. As the three place explosives on Chang's warship and zipline to safety on a bridge above the ship, the squad attempts to detonate the explosives, but the signal is somehow faulty.
At this point, Recker (the player) can either choose to sacrifice Irish or Hannah for them to detonate the explosives by hand, or do nothing and let Admiral Chang destroy the Valkyrie.