- "Jefferson Jackson, remember that name. He's destined for great things."
- —James Jackson to Jefferson Jackson[src]
James Jackson (died September 26, 1993) was a soldier and the father of Jefferson Jackson. In the original timeline, he was killed in Mogadishu on a mission as a soldier in the United States Army. However, after his son became a part of Rip Hunter's team, violating the rules of the Time Masters, James was targeted by a temporal assassin known as the Pilgrim. He was rescued by the Waverider crew, after which his time-traveling son tried to persuade him to stay careful in Mogadishu, warning him about the possibility of death.
In 1993, James was supposed to ship out for service in Somalia on the day his son was to be born. However, there was a last minute delay, and he was able to borrow an army jeep with the blessing of a commanding officer and make it to the hospital to see his newborn in the hospital's nursery. While looking through the nursery window at Jefferson, he was approached by a future version of his son who had been aiding Rip Hunter as a part of his team. Though Jefferson did not identify himself at the time, he was able to spend a precious few minutes with James, who he had never gotten to know as in his own timeline his father had died two weeks later in Mogadishu. James departed from the nursery with the intention of returning to base, while the future version of his son and the other members of his team kidnapped infant Jefferson in an attempt at stopping the Pilgrim, an agent of the Time Masters intent on eradicating Jefferson's past self and removing him from the timeline altogether.
When The Pilgrim arrived to find that she was too late, she abducted James instead, along with other family members and loved ones of Rip Hunter's team. She tried to offer James in exchange for a young Rip Hunter, but was quickly defeated by the combined powers and weapons of his team, and James was safely returned to his own time. Before he departed, however, Jefferson warned his father of the fate that would befall him in Mogadishu, in the hopes that he could save James's life and alter the timeline. James left, promising that he would try to be careful.
However, Jefferson's warning didn't work, and James got killed in the battle.