TAVANTOLGOI, Mongolia — More than 1,200 service members from 22 nations gathered at the parade field of Five Hills Training Area as the closing ceremony and festivities marked the successful end to Exercise Khaan Quest 2015, June 30, 2015.
The exercise, in it’s 13th iteration, is co-sponsored by U.S. Army Pacific and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, and hosted annually by the Mongolian Armed Forces.Khaan Quest is designed to strengthen the capabilities of U.S., Mongolia and other partner nations in international peace support operations.
“The challenges we face globally yield unprecedented opportunities for increased cooperation,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Charles Bilton, the deputy commanding general of operations for U.S. Army Pacific, during his speech at the closing ceremony. “The nations represented here demonstrate the willingness to develop unified responses and bring together diverse military capabilities to foster and develop more capable peace support forces.”
The multinational services worked with one another in peacekeeping and stability scenarios presented during the command post and field training exercise. Both of these exercises provided training through simulated events, such as IED awareness, riot training and combat first aid.
“A key objective of Khaan Quest 2015 was to enhance professional relationships and improve readiness and interoperability,” Bilton explained. “The challenging training environment has greatly enhanced teamwork and fostered long-lasting friendships.”
Humanitarian programs were in full swing during the exercise, with approximately 150 multinational medical and engineering service members engaging the community, of which 100 participated from the U.S. Engineering civic action program projects and the health services support engagement extended dental, medical, veterinary and construction-rebuilding services to the local, underserved communities within Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar.
Altogether, the humanitarian outreach programs equipped two local special-needs schools with more than 9,500 feet of perimeter fencing, a basketball court, 6 gardens, and new electrical wiring, windows and doors. Additionally, medical professionals were able to provide patient care to more than 4,800 Mongolian citizens and veterinary services to 330 farm animals.
The relationship between the U.S. and Mongolia militaries is one of mutual respect, and through this exercise it continues to flourish within the military forces and into the communities.
“To our Mongolian colleagues, thank you, again, for hosting this event and congratulations on your success in conducting a phenomenal exercise,” concluded Bilton during his closing remarks. “I would also like to recognize the efforts of the civilians, officers and soldiers from Marine Forces Pacific who have led the United States exercise planning effort with our Mongolian counterparts this year as well as the USARPAC and Alaskan National Guard personnel who have contributed to the conduct of the exercise.”