FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia --
Service members from 13 participating nations and four observer countries – China, Russia, Turkey and Kazakhstan – gathered here for the exercise Khaan Quest 2013 closing ceremony, Aug. 14.
Hosted annually by the Mongolian Armed Forces with co-sponsorship alternating between U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific and U.S. Army Pacific, approximately 1,000 troops from Mongolia, U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, India, Nepal, Republic of Korea, Tajikistan, United Kingdom and Vietnam took part in the exercise.
Throughout Khaan Quest, participants engaged one another through field training and command post exercises in Tavan Tolgoi (Five Hills) Training Area. Medical subject matter expertise exchanges and cooperative health engagements, as well as engineering civic action program (ENCAP) projects, took place in nearby Nalaikh district, Ulaanbaatar.
The four separate components of the exercise all focused on enhancing international peacekeeping operations and strengthening joint-combined capabilities through military-to-military cooperation.
“I’m truly pleased greeting the peacekeepers, who share the same goal despite speaking different languages and having different cultures,” said Mr. Puntsag Tsagaan, Chief of Staff Office of the President of Mongolia.
“I would like to express sincere thanks to U.S. Pacific Command for supporting this event (and in turn) supporting peace,” Tsagaan said, addressing the international troops standing in formation. “I have no doubt that the skills you learned during the Khaan Quest exercise will blossom into peace and happiness for (the entire) world.”
Following remarks from Lt. Gen. Ts. Byambajav, Chief of General Staff, Mongolian Armed Forces, the commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific – which served as the U.S. executive agent for this year’s exercise – addressed the delegation.
“There are no more fundamental ideals that span across the human race than security, stability and prosperity,” said Lt. Gen. Terry G. Robling, commander of MarForPac. “Finding a group of nations willing to pursue these ideals seems simple, but in reality the actual implementation is a challenge.
“Many nations fear that by working with other countries multilaterally, their sovereign interests will be undermined, or that the success of other countries somehow undermines their own,” Robling said. “Others may feel that they cannot or do not share a common purpose with those who appear different or speak a different language … Khaan Quest is a concrete illustration of how unfounded these fears and concerns are.”
While MarForPac Marines and the U.S. military as a whole conduct numerous training exercises around the world on a regular basis, Robling emphasized the importance of one that focuses on multinational peacekeeping operations.
“The more peaceful and secure the world is as a whole, the better it is for the flow of commerce, international trade and our nations’ individual futures,” Robling said. “It is something we all must work together cooperatively to achieve.”