Every clime and place: Marines train alongside Mongolian Army
By Sgt. Dean Davis
| | August 14, 2009
FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia --
Over the windswept steppe near Ulaanbaatar, Lance Cpl. Travis G. Floyd trekked through a live fire course in a part of the world he never expected to see.
“This is the kind of thing that I joined the Marine Corps for, this is great,” said Floyd, an amphibious assault vehicle crewman with 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division.
Floyd’s platoon trained side-by-side with Mongolian soldiers, giving both forces the opportunity to enhance their interoperability and become familiar with foreign weapons, explained Cpl. Jaime Garibay, an amphibious assault vehicle crewman with 3rd AA Bn.
“It was really interesting working alongside a different nation’s forces,” said Garibay, 20, from Redlands, Calif. “The way they run their training was very different from our method. And, of course we wanted to play with their toys.”
After running the course of fire, the Marines traded M4 carbines for AK-47s, RPKs and Dragonovs while the Mongolians tried out the M4s.
“It was awesome,” said Floyd, 20, from Gracon, K.Y. “Who doesn’t like to fire a sniper rifle?”
Communication was the biggest challenge they encountered, but that too was the point of the training , Floyd said.
The live-fire training preceded the kick-off of “Khaan Quest,” a multi-national peacekeeping training exercise with the goal of increasing peace support operation core competencies, drawing participants from the US, Mongolia, Singapore, Germany, Cambodia, South Korea, Japan, Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia.
When asked what changes should be made to the exercise, Floyd had only a few words.
“I just wish that more Marines could come here and be a part of this,” Floyd said. “Learning about a different culture, seeing a different country… it’s just a great experience.”