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Surgeons from the Mongolian Armed Forces and the Republic of Korea operate on a patient at the MAF's Central Clinical Hospital in Ulaanbaatar during exercise Khaan Quest's Subject Matter Expert Exchange, Aug. 9. The SMEE and Cooperative Health Engagement in nearby Nalaikh district brought a multinational team of medical officers together in both classroom and clinical settings to gain experience, enhance interoperability and be exposed to different tactics, techniques and procedures in the military medical field. Khaan Quest is a peacekeeping operations-focused, combined training event between U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, U.S. Army Pacific, and the MAF. MARFORPAC and USARPAC have conducted similar training with MAF since 2003, and this exercise marks the 11th iteration of the exercise.

Photo by Sgt. Ben Eberle

Countries come together in classroom, clinic during exercise Khaan Quest

12 Aug 2013 | Sgt. Ben Eberle

Military medical professionals from Canada, India, Republic of Korea and the U.S. teamed up with their Mongolian Armed Forces counterparts and local healthcare providers during a Subject Matter Expert Exchange and Cooperative Health Engagement at the MAF’s Central Clinical Hospital and Golomt Elementary School here, Aug 5-9.

“This year begins the transition in the medical community with the way we approach medical missions,” said Navy Lt. Randy Gire, lead U.S. medical planner for the exercise. “This is the first time we’ve done both the subject matter expert exchange and worked in the clinical environment.”

The medical portion of this year’s Khaan Quest expanded on those of previous exercises by striking more of a balance between classroom learning and practical experience, allowing the multinational team of doctors to exchange their notepads and pens for scrubs and scalpels, giving them an opportunity to work together through real-life, clinical situations.

“Just doing the lectures alone is good, they can talk about the things they do at their own hospitals,” said Gire. “But when they get side-by-side and work with a patient, they are able to share information, diagnose problems together, and it’s more of an interactive environment.”

One MAF surgeon, who in the past had worked professionally with SME’s from other nations, appreciates the value added by exercises like Khaan Quest.

“I’ve had an opportunity to work alongside an Indian surgeon before,” said 2nd Lt. M. Battulga, with the Department of General Surgery, Mongolian Armed Forces. “I’ve gained a lot of experience working with him, and with doctors like him.”

During the 5-day CHE event at Golomt Elementary School and 4-day SMEE at the MAF hospital, the practitioners discussed topics ranging from medical logistics and triage procedures, to traumatic brain injuries and the use of virtual reality during physiotherapy.

While the classroom portion undoubtedly exposed the team to a range of relevant tactics, techniques and procedures in the field of military medicine, the benefit of working with one another to treat patients cannot be understated.

“I think that we’ve accomplished a lot on the medical side of Khaan Quest,” said Gire. “We’ve all learned a lot, it’s been a very professional event, and we look forward to building on this in the years to come.”

Khaan Quest is an annual peacekeeping operations-focused, combined training hosted annually by the MAF, and co-sponsored by U.S. Army Pacific and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.


U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific