FIVE HILLS TRAINING CENTER, Mongolia --
When the Mongolian Armed Forces entered Iraq in 2003, it was the first time the Mongolian military had been in the country since the middle of the 13th century.
Even historians disagree on number of those killed in 1258 when the grandson of Chinggis Khaan leveled Baghdad. Estimates range between 80,000 to 800,000. That battle ended the city's claim to fame as the largest city in the Arab world.
This time however, the Mongolians entered Iraq not for a bloody battle, but rather to help in peacekeeping operations . The successful completion of those missions comes as a result of effective training such as that found in the annual exercise Khaan Quest.
Last year's exercise found MAF Maj. Batkhuubat-Erdene as a trainer. He helped train the multinational contingents going through the exercise how to secure and guard a fixed site. Only months later would he put that exact training to use in Iraq.
"Khaan Quest 06 was very important to my deployment,"said Batkhuubat-Erdene. "I had no problems completing my mission. [The training] was very helpful and very important for the soldiers."
Much like Batkhuubat-Erdene, Maj. Amarbayasgalan, the training officer for Mongolia's 330th Unit, spent nine months in peacekeeping duties, this time in Afghanistan where he was a translator on the MAF's Mobile Training Team which taught Afghan soldiers how to use artillery.
"When I went to Afghanistan for nine months last year, we had a good experience, because most of our soldiers participated in Khaan Quest 06,"Amarbayasgalan said. "So they had good experience, and they had good knowledge about the peacekeeping operation. It was very helpful for our soldiers."
This year's exercise focuses on 33 common peacekeeping tasks as defined by the United Nations'Department of Peacekeeping. Those 33 tasks were then broken down into six training lanes: checkpoint operations, patrolling, humanitarian aid distribution, guarding fixed sites, convoy operations, and cordon and search. Each lane has a primary task objective with several subtasks.
By both officers'accounts, this year's exercise is preparing the future peacekeepers of the world very well.
Exercise Khaan Quest 07 is the capstone event of the Asia-Pacific region Global Peace Operations Initiative. Through participation in this exercise, U. S., Mongolian and other multinational forces strengthen their capabilities in peace support operations worldwide and gain United Nations training recognition.