— Blackburn while being interrogated during The Great Destroyer
Staff Sergeant Henry "Black" Blackburn is a character in Battlefield 3's single-player campaign. He is a playable character and the main protagonist of the story.
Blackburn is a Staff Sergeant in the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion of the United States Marine Corps, serving in squad Misfit 1-3. He is deployed in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Tehran, Iran in the war effort against the People's Liberation and Resistance (PLR) in 2014.
He and Dimitri "Dima" Mayakovsky are the main protagonists of the story in Battlefield 3's single-player campaign, and Blackburn is the player-controlled character in the vast majority of the missions in the game, spanning 7 out of the 12 missions.
He is first seen in the in medias res introduction to the single player campaign, where he jumps on a New York City subway train that has been hijacked by the PLR. He storms each car on the train until he enters the last one where he is ambushed by Solomon.
The game then moves 8 hours backward in the story to the point where Henry Blackburn is being interrogated by two CIA officers, Gordon, and Whistler, in a CIA office near Hunterspoint, Queens. Blackburn is in custody after killing his commanding officer, Captain Quinton Cole, inside Amir Kaffarov's villa after he threatened to shoot him and Dimitri Mayakovsky, who had revealed Solomon's plans to set off two nuclear devices in Paris and New York City.
Blackburn is interrogated by the two agents, summarizing his involvement in the war for them, and how he became aware of a nuclear bomb plot. The agents also wish to know what faction threatens the city with nuclear devices. Blackburn explains the events of the war from his first mission until the last one.
Not much is known about Blackburn's personal life except for some facts revealed during the game's loading screens stating that he was born in Buffalo, New York. His father's name is Michael Blackburn. He fought during the Vietnam War, and according to Henry, Michael would have random outbursts by the traumatized effects of the war. His mother's name is not known, and he also has a girlfriend/fiancee named Charlene. His grandfather, George Blackburn, fought in the European Theater of World War II.
- Blackburn's squad's call sign, as heard from radio chatter throughout the campaign, is Misfit 1-3. This could be a reference to Bad Company.
- Blackburn is a Designated Marksman, as he is the squad member who carries sniper rifles such as the Mk11 Mod 0 in Operation Swordbreaker and the M40A5 in Night Shift.
- This is also briefly emphasized by Christian Matkovic in Operation Swordbreaker while he gives the AT4 to Blackburn, by mentioning to him "You're the best shot."
- In Fear No Evil, when the player plays as Jonathan Miller, Blackburn can be seen fully during gameplay for the first and only time in-game.
- Despite being a Staff Sergeant and the highest ranking Marine of Misfit 1-3, he is not in command of the squad. Ironically, everyone else of lower rank is usually giving orders to Blackburn.
- In the "Fault Line" trailers, Blackburn is sleeveless and both of his arms are completely visible. However, this is only visible when he engages the PLR insurgent while trying to disarm an IED. In the final version, however, his sleeves are rolled up to his elbow.
- He wore the black gloves issued to the USMC Engineer class from multiplayer in the trailers, but the color has changed to the standard real-life Marine Corps combat gloves which are the Coyote Brown Oakley SI Assault gloves in the actual game.
- If Miller fails to cover Blackburn in Fear No Evil, the Mission Fail screen will pop up and say his nickname "Black was Killed" instead of a formal "Blackburn was Killed."
- Both his and Preston Marlowe's fathers and grandfathers fought in the Vietnam War and the European Theater of World War II.
- During the opening cutscene to The Great Destroyer, Blackburn's fellow Marine David Montes is brought into the room by the CIA Agents. After the agents leave, the two have a brief conversation. This is the only time in the game that Blackburn is seen speaking to another member of Misfit 1-3, as he is silent during gameplay. It is also the only time that Blackburn is seen speaking to someone other than the CIA Agents.
- A casting call for the game originally referred to Blackburn as just being a Sergeant.
- His description in the casting call says, "American USMC Sergeant. Tough, idealistic, direct and honest to a fault."