Meet Major Michael Cooper
"I deployed to South Sudan initially as the deputy chief of operations and then as chief of operations in my final month there. The overall mandate was to protect civilians.
My daily duties involved briefing the Force Commander concerning all on-going military operations around the country. These centred around military units deploying to areas, liaising with the local elders, offering medical and veterinary support and advice on infrastructure issues, such as building schools and repairing wells. Many of these patrols were partnered with UN civilians and non-government organisations (NGOs).
Aside from this I was the lead for operations involving the movement of logistic support along the river White Nile from Juba to and from Sector North. These patrols routinely delivered vast amounts of fuel and food. As well as moving supplies via river, we also moved significant amounts of supplies via road. All of this required a considerable amount of coordination between sectors, NGOs, military HQ’s, civilian agencies and the Government of South Sudan. The primary function was to ensure all force protection was in place both as part of the convoy and in a stand off position to cover vulnerable areas.
During my time there I met some amazing people and I got to work in an environment which, despite being incredibly testing, was very different from the one the UK military has found itself in during the Afghan/Iraq campaigns."