FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia — Mongolian Armed Forces and U.S. service members, along with more than 20 other nations, held an opening ceremony June 20 to mark the beginning of Exercise Khaan Quest 2015 at the Five Hills Training Area.
Khaan Quest is a regularly scheduled, multinational exercise hosted annually by MAF and co-sponsored by U.S. Army, Pacific, and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.
“This exercise is an event which truly contributes to the enhancement of peace keeping and peace support capacities of armed forces of different nations,” said Tserendash Tsolmon, the minister of defense of Mongolia. “Furthermore, the Mongolian Armed Forces appreciates the accumulated experience gained by organizing this event. I am content that the range, importance and reputation of Khaan Quest has raised year by year and has now become one of the major events in the region.”
By working side-by-side with other nations and combining their skills, KQ15 promotes and strengthens regional security, according to U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Christopher J. Mahoney, the deputy commander for U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.
“We live in a world full of opportunity and promise, but at the same time it is ever-changing and dangerous,” Mahoney said. “It requires people of unusual skill and dedication who, through their action, can guarantee that opportunity. Through our collective efforts in Khaan Quest we can do just that.”
Khaan Quest enhances the relationship of mutual respect between the MAF and U.S. service members, as well as strengthens multinational relationships around the world.
“Humanitarian events such as engineering civic action program projects and incorporating health engagement events are an integral part of the exercise which raise the importance of this event,” said Maj. Gen. Zagdsuren Boldbaatar, deputy defense minister of Mongolia. “They are comprehensive events that occur in the real environment.”
There are over 1,200 military personnel from over 20 nations around the world here to participate in KQ15. Over the next two weeks, the service members will participate in a field training exercise focused on peacekeeping operations, survival training and competitive events. At the same time, the command post exercise will simulate realistic scenario-based missions to hone peacekeeping operations’ command and control capabilities.
“The common thread between these elements, in my opinion the most important aspect of this exercise, is the forging of personal relationships,” Mahoney said. “Not only will we create professional military-to-military relationships, we will build personal and lasting connections.”
Mongolia has extensive experience in peacekeeping operations, having deployed its forces in peace support operations in South Sudan, Sierra Leone and the Balkans. Exercises such as Khaan Quest set the stage for all countries to learn from one another’s experiences.
“There’s something to be said about the troops in the FTX, buddy-rushing side-by-side in the dirt, becoming friends and brothers in arms; leaders around the terrain model practicing tactical decision-making together form bonds and trust through these learning experiences,” Mahoney said. “What we accomplish here may answer the call of a nation in need and rest assured Khaan Quest will prepare us to answer that call. Khaan Quest 2015 is sure to live up to the high standard set in years previous. I know that everyone is ready to get started.”