Private Cooper Leopold is making the most of his first deployment. 

The 21-year-old, from Gawler, South Australia, is embedded with the US Air Force on Operation Accordion in the Middle East.

As a geospatial imagery intelligence analyst with the US Central Command Partner Integration Enterprise, his role is to process, exploit and disseminate (PED) operational full-motion video from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). 

“I act as the middle man between our PED analyst crews, UAV crews, and supported units to ensure delivered products match our customer requirements,” Private Leopold said.

“Some of our customers include a variety of military units from the United States, Italy, and the Netherlands. 

“Providing actionable intelligence to other military units allows them to conduct their job effectively and ultimately save lives.

“I also supervise and support the crews and monitor their performance, issues, and fatigue.”

The US Central Command’s area of responsibility includes a 20-nation region stretching from north-east Africa across the Middle East to Central and South Asia.

Private Leopold said his work on deployment was more complex than normal.

“This role differs from my job back home,” Private Leopold said.

“The workload is larger and each decision made has a larger impact on the environment around me. 

“Walking into work every day and not knowing what to expect means no two days are the same.

“Working with other countries provides an additional perspective on how to do my job and how we work together. They also ensure work is enjoyable.

“I am extremely lucky to have the opportunity to manage multinational PED analyst crews and support a variety of mission types.”