Captain Jim Hopper was the commander of a U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret Unit, dispatched to Val Verde to rescue several CIA agents whose helicopter had been shot down by guerrillas. However, the operation failed when the team was ambushed and slain by a lone Yautja, with Hopper himself being flayed and gutted alive by the Predator.
Hopper attended boot camp with Alan "Dutch" Schaefer in 1967 and the two quickly became friends. In 1979, they were serving in Malaysia, by which time Hopper had become a helicopter pilot. The two men took part in a disastrous mission that almost cost them both their lives, with Hopper risking his own safety to evacuate Dutch from the combat zone. While close, Dutch and Hopper apparently fell out of contact some time after this.
In 1987, Hopper and his team were assigned by Al Dillon to rescue several CIA agents captured by rebels when their helicopter was shot down over the jungle of Val Verde. During their trek toward the guerrilla camp, Hopper's team quickly discovered the wreckage of the agents' helicopter. After investigating the remnants of the helicopter, they continued their advance on the camp.
At some point whilst moving towards the guerrilla camp, Hopper and his men were attacked by a lone Yautja. Unable to determine the position of their enemy due to its Cloak, they desperately fired in all directions, but ultimately all of them were either incapacitated or killed by the Predator.
The Predator then brutally skinned and disemboweled Hopper and two of his men and hung them from the trees by their ankles to be displayed; the fate of Hopper's remaining three men was never discovered. Notably, the Predator did not collect the skulls from the three skinned bodies, possibly indicating that they had not been enough of a challenge to warrant this; however, he may have done so with the remaining three men.
The corpses were later discovered by Dutch and his private mercenary team, Dutch identifying the men with Hopper's dog tag, becoming the first indication that something unknown was hunting in the jungle.
- Although dialogue identifies him as Jim, the name seen on Hopper's dog tag in Predator is actually C. E. Hopper. In the film's novelization, Hopper's name is said to be J. S. Davis.