The First Hunt for Vladimir Makarov is the first campaign to hunt Vladimir Makarov, headed by Shepherd after the conclusion of the Battle of Washington D.C.. The campaign consists of two battles: one at the Georgian-Russian border, and the other in Afghanistan. Task Force 141 was unable to find Makarov, and was effectively dissolved by the actions of Shepherd and the Shadow Company at the end of the two battles.
With the victory of American forces at Washington D.C. and the start of the withdrawal of the Russians from the US Eastern Coast, Shepherd was given a "blank check" to hunt down Vladimir Makarov and his associates. Makarov's two possible locations were discovered, one on the Georgian-Russian border and the other in Afghanistan. Gary "Roach" Sanderson and Simon "Ghost" Riley were assigned to search for Makarov at the Georgian-Russian border, while John Price and John "Soap" MacTavish were assigned to search for Makarov in Afghanistan. In secret, Shepherd was mobilizing his Shadow Company to attack Task Force 141 when Makarov was found.
Shortly after the Task Force 141 force arrived, they were ambushed at a field of landmines. They were forced to run into a nearby patch of smoke to avoid incoming mortar fire. They reach Makarov's safehouse nearby, systematically breaching the safehouse rooms and removing Inner Circle presence from the area. When the safehouse is clear, Ghost cannot find Makarov or hint as to his current whereabouts. However, there is a very large amount of Inner Circle intel in the safehouse, so Sheperd orders Ghost to gather the intel and reach the evacuation helicopter in five minutes. When the intelligence begins to be downloaded, the Inner Circle begin their attack to retake the safehouse. Roach takes the downloaded intelligence and leaves for the evacuation point with Ghost. However, Roach is hit by a mortar strike and nearly killed. Ghost pulls Roach to the evacuation chopper. Roach and Ghost find Shepherd on the chopper with Shadow Company landing in the distance. Once Shepherd confirms that Roach has the downloaded intelligence, Shepard shoots them both and burns them. Shadow Company units then overwhelm and defeat remaining Inner Circle and Task Force 141 units.
The Task Force 141 force arrives, encountering heavy resistance from the Inner Circle. The force reaches Makarov's safehouse, not finding Makarov or hint as to his current whereabouts. They find an incoming force of Inner Circle units, and go dark on comms in order to avoid alerting the Inner Circle. When Shadow Company attacks Soap and Price, Price tries to warn Roach and Ghost about Shepherd's treachery. Soap and Price gain help from Nikolai in escaping their current position. While moving to the evacuation point, Price contacts Makarov for information on Shepherd's location: Site Hotel Bravo. Price takes a vechicle and has Rook ride to Soap. When Soap boards the vehicle, all three ride towards Nikolai's plane. Rook is killed by stray gunfire; Soap takes the wheel and successfully navigates into Nikolai's plane.
Nikolai brought Price and Soap to Shepherd's location at Site Hotel Bravo. After evading and fighting past various Shadow Company units, Shepherd recognized that Price was attacking. He prepared to leave and set the base to self-destruct. He boarded a boat to leave and was followed closely by Price and Soap. Eventually, Shepherd manages to board a helicopter, but it is shot down by Price. Price and Soap fall into a waterfall and are greatly injured. Soap finds Shepherd by the helicopter wreckage and follows him to a nearby structure. He tries to stab Shepherd but is stabbed instead. Before Soap is shot, Price attack Shepherd; Soap tries to reach Shepherd's gun but is temporarily stunned. As Shepherd gains the upper hand, Soap pulls out the knife and kills Shepherd with it, shortly before Nikolai lands to pull out Soap and Price.