John Cooper (British Army officer)

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John Cooper
Lt gen john cooper hi.jpg
Lieutenant General John Cooper in Iraq
Born (1955-02-17) 17 February 1955 (age 63)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1975–2009
Rank Lieutenant General
Unit King's Own Scottish Borderers
Commands held Deputy Commander of Multinational Force-Iraq (2008–09)
1st (UK) Armoured Division (2005–06)
12th Mechanised Brigade (1999–02)
1st Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers (1994–97)
Battles/wars Northern Ireland
Gulf War
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Member of the Order of the British Empire
Bronze Star Medal (United States)

Lieutenant General John Cooper, CB, DSO, MBE (born 17 February 1955) is a former senior British Army officer. From March 2008 he was the Deputy Commander of Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I), the operational-level headquarters in Iraq, and the Senior British Military Representative-Iraq. As Deputy Commander, he was the principal assistant to General Raymond T. Odierno of the United States Army. He stepped down on 4 March 2009,[1] and retired from the army later that year.

Early life and career[edit]

Cooper was born on 17 February 1955 in Berwick-upon-Tweed.[2] Educated at Berwick Grammar School, he then went to Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and was commissioned into the King's Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) as a second lieutenant on 8 March 1975.[2][3] He initially served in Northern Ireland, Britain and Germany,[2] he was promoted lieutenant on 8 March 1977,[4] and captain on 8 September 1981.[5] In the early 1980s he served two tours with a British Army advisory and training team in Zimbabwe before attending Staff College, Camberley in 1987. He was promoted major on 30 September 1987,[6] and after graduation from the staff course, he was appointed Chief of Staff, 8th Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland 1988–89, for which he was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) on 6 November 1990.[2][7] He then commanded a rifle company in 1st Battalion, KOSB (1KOSB), including active service in the Gulf War.[2] He was promoted lieutenant colonel on 30 June 1994,[8] and commanded 1KOSB for a further tour in Northern Ireland, for which he was appointed to the Distinguished Service Order (DSO),[9] as well as tours in Edinburgh and Lancashire.[2] He then served as an instructor at the Staff College, Camberley, and at the Joint Services Command and Staff College.[2]

Higher command[edit]

In November 1997, Cooper was appointed to a high staff position as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 (O&D) in HQ LAND, where he had responsibility for implementing recommendations arising from the Strategic Defence Review.[2] He attended the Higher Command and Staff Course in 1998,[2] and was promoted colonel on 30 June 1998.[10] He was officially promoted to brigadier on 31 December 1999, with seniority from 30 June 1999,[10] having taken command of the 12th Mechanised Brigade in November 1999.[2] The brigade deployed to Bosnia in 2000.[2] He was appointed to the honorary position of KOSB's Colonel of the Regiment on 9 February 2001 and held that post until the regiment was disbanded with its merger into the Royal Regiment of Scotland on 28 March 2006, when he became a Deputy Colonel of the new regiment.[11][12][13] He was appointed the Chief of the Defence Staff's liaison officer to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon (United States) in Washington DC in 2002. He then assumed the appointment of Chief of Staff, Field Army, HQ Land Command.[2]

Upon promotion to major general on 7 May 2004,[14] Cooper became Deputy Commander Combined Forces Command (Afghanistan) until December 2004.[2] He was awarded the US Bronze Star Medal for his service in Afghanistan.[15] When he departed Afghanistan, he took command of 1st (UK) Armoured Division on 25 January 2005,[16] taking elements of that division to Iraq where it formed HQ Multi-National Division (South-East).[2] He returned to England for two years of senior leadership positions before his promotion to lieutenant general and return to Iraq on 23 March 2008 to become Senior British Military Representative and Deputy Commanding General, Multinational Force, Iraq.[17] He stepped down from the post on 4 March 2009. In an interview on 3 March 2009 he expressed his belief that the struggle against Al Qaida in Iraq had been won, and that the country was getting back on its feet.[1]

Cooper was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.[18] He retired from the army on 21 November 2009.[19]


  1. ^ a b Chulov, Martin (3 March 2009). "We will leave Iraq a better place – British general—Commander claims defeat of al-Qaida and dawn of democracy". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "MNF-I Deputy Commanding General—Lt. Gen. J. Cooper, DSO MBE". website of Multinational Force-Iraq. 15 July 2008. Archived from the original on 11 February 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  3. ^ "No. 46551". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 April 1975. pp. 5159–5160. 
  4. ^ "No. 47166". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 March 1977. p. 3220. 
  5. ^ "No. 48734". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 September 1981. p. 11684. 
  6. ^ "No. 51080". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 October 1987. pp. 12383–12384. 
  7. ^ "No. 52324". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 November 1990. pp. 17199–17200. 
  8. ^ "No. 53724". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 July 1994. pp. 9605–9606. 
  9. ^ "No. 54028". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 May 1995. p. 6610. 
  10. ^ a b "No. 55181". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 June 1998. p. 7122. 
  11. ^ "No. 56117". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 February 2001. p. 1810. 
  12. ^ "No. 58264". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 March 2007. p. 3234. 
  13. ^ "No. 58258". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 February 2007. p. 2869. 
  14. ^ "No. 57339". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 June 2004. p. 8077. 
  15. ^ "No. 57751". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 September 2005. p. 11649. 
  16. ^ "No. 57547". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 February 2005. p. 1188. 
  17. ^ "No. 58647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 March 2008. p. 4454. 
  18. ^ "No. 59090". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2009. p. 2. 
  19. ^ "No. 59249". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 November 2009. p. 20321. 
Military offices
Preceded by
New post
Deputy Commander, Combined Forces Command (Afghanistan)
Succeeded by
Peter Gilchrist
Preceded by
Peter Wall
General Officer Commanding the 1st (UK) Armoured Division
Succeeded by
Graham Binns
Preceded by
James Dutton
General Officer Commanding
Multi-National Division (South East), Iraq

Succeeded by
Richard Shirreff
Preceded by
Bill Rollo
Senior British Military Representative
and Deputy Commanding General, Multinational Force, Iraq

Succeeded by
Chris Brown