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Jenny Cotton - Wynnum-Manly

Manly local Jenny Cotton is looking forward to her walks along the Wynnum-Manly foreshore when she returns soon from the Middle East after close to 12 months deployed on operations.

Colonel Cotton is the Director Support at Australia's main headquarters in the Middle East region under Operation Accordion.

As an Army Reservist, Jenny has thoroughly enjoyed her second deployment, having served previously on operations in Bougainville in 2000/2001.

"The deployment has been a wonderful opportunity overall for both personal and professional development," she said.

"The best thing has definitely been the people. It's one of the most harmonious headquarters I've ever worked in. No matter what service people are from, whether Navy, Army or Air Force, we all just work together to achieve the mission."

Jenny joined the Army when she was just 18 years old following her family's heritage of service and seeking to challenge herself.

"Both my parents were British soldiers, and my grandfather, on my mother's side, fought in both WWI and WWII," Jenny said.

"I joined initially as a reservist, later serving 12 years in regular Army before transferring back to reserves again. There have been too many highlights to count, but this deployment would certainly be up there. The reality is I wouldn't be here if I didn't enjoy it still."

When not in uniform, Jenny works as a HR specialist with the Department of Human Services and has found that the skills from both her professions have been highly transferrable.

"Relationship management, quick decision making, problem solving, and in particular while I'm here, thinking more at the strategic level, are all skills that have been built upon from my service with Army."

"I would encourage anybody who has any desire to join, particularly other women, to do it."

"The mateship and the people that you work with, the opportunities to do something completely different to that of civilian world, and the ability to make a difference on operations, it's second to none."

When Jenny returns to Australia she is looking forward to seeing her family and enjoying some of the comforts that we often take for granted.

"I'm excited to not to have to wear boots everyday!" she said.

"But also to see my husband Geoff, the kids, the pets and having a home cooked meal."

Operation Accordion provides support and sustainment to Australia's operations across the Middle East region while enabling contingency operations and enhancing regional relationships.