From the manual:
Born an only child in the liberal 1960's San Francisco, Cutter Slade had anything but a normal upbringing. His parents are left wing Democrats with intellectual backgrounds: his father was a Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, while his mother, originally from Norway, was a translator. During the summer of 1968, they took an active part in the numerous demonstrations against Vietnam on the Berkeley campus.
With such progressive parents, Cutter had a very relaxed childhood. His parents put little pressure on him to study, but they did impress upon him the importance of a number of values: frankness, respect for the weak, tolerance, and justice. They also taught him to be extremely independent and live life unconventionally. From his bilingual parents, Cutter also inherited a love of foreign languages and a gift for learning them (in fact, this is the only area in which he excelled academically).
Apart from his gift for foreign languages (and a liking for history), during his college years, Cutter realized his aptitude for sports. He was very good at athletics in general, but excelled in football. He quickly became indispensable as the quarterback in his college football team, so the College authorities overlooked his poor academic record.
In 1987, Cutter secretly joined the Navy. Although he is rather put off by the military discipline, only the Navy can offer him the chance to experience the action and adventure he craves. His family, particularly his father, found this totally incomprehensible.
Cutter excelled during training and he was naturally selected for Navy SEAL training. He was considered exceptionally talented there as well, and was noticed by Major Doug Dawson.
During the course of the next few years, still under the attentive, yet somewhat distant eyes of Major Dawson, Cutter became one of the most well known members of the SEAL teams.
His career is a reflection of the shadier areas of American foreign policy; Panama, South America, and the Middle East were frequently the scenes of his activities.
Cutter was able to indulge his love of adventure and action in the SEALs, but his various operations left him wondering whether the violence and reasoning behind his missions was justified. In the months prior to his final mission, Cutter became more distant from the Navy, having no contact with other SEALs outside of his missions. He began to drink heavily in his off-hours. This did not go unnoticed by his superior officers, including Cutter's mentor, Doug Dawson. No one, however, intervened.
Cutter returned to the SEAL camp after being injured during a mission.
While regaining his strength, Cutter is assigned to lead a public relations mission with reporter Marion Wolfe, the daughter of Senator Clare Fitzgerald, and her photographer. During the mission, the photographer died in an accident.
Much to Cutter's surprise, Senator Fitzgerald blamed the photographer's death on Cutter, calling Cutter an irresponsible adventurer.
For two years the Senator conducted an investigation looking into Cutter's activities. The picture she painted was that of a violent soldier who has gone AWOL and drinks heavily.
With the help of her lawyers, the Senator forced Cutter to resign at half-pay in September 2002.
Cutter's abilities as a "war machine" slowly declined as his time away from the SEALs increased. The only thing that prevented him from indulging in his love for vodka is his friend Doug Dawson (now an Admiral).
The President of the United States asked Admiral Dawson to create the PROWLERS, an unofficial team of capable, anonymous and trained men who carry out a variety of secret and dangerous missions. The Admiral naturally recruits Cutter as Commander in charge of Operations.