UntitledMultinational Forces Train in Mongolian Plains

Marines rehearse posting security Aug. 18 during Exercise Khaan Quest 2012 at the Five Hills Training Area near Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. (Photo by Matthew Manning)
Marines rehearse posting security Aug. 18 during Exercise Khaan Quest 2012 at the Five Hills Training Area near Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. (Photo by Matthew Manning)

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – Serving in the military offers many opportunities, including the chance to travel to distant lands and train with other nations. Khaan Quest 2012 participants are experiencing this unique opportunity during the annual multinational exercise sponsored by U.S. Army Pacific and hosted by the Mongolian Armed Forces designed to promote regional peace and security.

Approximately 600 service members with the Mongolian Armed Forces, Alaska Army National Guard, Republic of Korea, India, Japan, Australia and the U.S. Marine Corps are participating in the field training exercise portion of KQ 2012.

“The field training exercise concentrates on enhancing the capabilities of partner nations to prepare for and conduct future peacekeeping operations,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Clinton K. Brown II, 297th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. “We are achieving that objective while bridging international gaps and creating lasting partnerships.”

The multinational troops are conducting platoon-level training during the training evolution.

“In this FTX, we are conducting many different types of exercises,” said Capt. Go Yoshiyuki, an instructor with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. “We are teaching disarmament, providing security for and conducting a distribution site, mounted and dismounted patrols, checkpoint operation training, and counter-improvised explosive device training.”

A major consideration during peacekeeping operations is the proper use of force.

“All of your efforts to provide aid can be ruined if you (incorrectly) use force during a peacekeeping operation,” said Staff Sgt. Alan J. Maria Jr., platoon sergeant with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “If you are setting up a food distribution site and a scenario arises, which requires the use of force to defend yourself or others, people may become afraid to approach you for help. This is a difficult concept to grasp for (service members) who are not accustomed to peacekeeping operations.”

The Khaan Quest FTX provides the training and exchange of techniques and procedures for peacekeeping operations between the participating nations.

“This is a great opportunity for service members from various countries to train and learn from each other,” said 1st Lt. E. Gantumur, an instructor with the Mongolian Armed Forces. “Personally, I know this exercise will help my soldiers and me in upcoming deployments. The terrain is similar to the areas we will be operating in, and we are also learning new techniques for how to effectively complete peace-support operations.”

Through the military-to-military exchange, participants hope for more opportunities to further build on relationships forged during the exercise.

“I would like to see this exercise continue to grow and more nations participate,” said Yoshiyuki. “Peacekeeping is a very important mission and the more nations able to join in peacekeeping efforts throughout the world, the better.”