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NEWS | June 30, 2014

Alaska National Guard continues partnership with Mongolian armed forces

By Staff Sgt. Michelle Brown

CAMP DENALI, Alaska - Approximately 100 Alaska National Guard members arrived in Mongolia to participate in Exercise Khaan Quest 2014, scheduled to take place until July 1, at Five Hills Training Area and in the city of Ulaanbaatar.

Alaska Guard members join efforts with approximately 1,000 service members from across the Pacific region during Khaan Quest, a training exercise focused on peacekeeping.

This year Khaan Quest consists of a command post exercise and a field training exercise. During these events, Mongolian, U.S. and multinational forces will work to enhance regional interoperability and mission effectiveness, as well as develop common tactics, techniques and procedures.

"We are very glad to be reunited with our Mongolian partners at Khaan Quest because it enhances our state partnership program. Our unique geographic similarities and challenges strengthen the bond we have with our Mongolian counterparts," said Col. Chad Parker, the U.S. Khaan Quest exercise director and commander of the 297th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, Alaska Army National Guard.

Mongolian and U.S. armed forces, along with other regional partners, will also collaborate to conduct Engineering Civic Action Program projects and Cooperative Health Engagement events in Ulaanbaatar.

"We are here to collaborate, mentor, and extend our friendship to the Mongolian [Armed Forces] and other multinational forces," said Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Ring, B Company, 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry (Airborne) Regiment. Ring will be participating in the field training exercise, as a platoon sergeant.

Partnered in 2003, Alaska and Mongolia have formed a bond sharing information through multiple exchanges and exercises.

"This is a great opportunity for our Soldiers who have little experience with other countries’ cultures and customs," Ring said. "It’s a good experience for them to learn. Such experience is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity that they can share their stories with their friends and family."

In addition to U.S. and Mongolian military forces, personnel from 21 other nations are slated to observe or participate in various portions of the exercise, including Australia, Belarus, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Tajikistan, the United Kingdom and Turkey.

Khaan Quest is co-sponsored by the U.S. Army Pacific and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, and hosted annually by the Mongolian armed forces. The exercise is designed to enhance military-to-military relations between the U.S., Mongolia and other international forces in the Pacific region, to improve peacekeeping operations capabilities and to increase interoperability among the participating nations.

This exercise marks the twelfth anniversary of this regionally significant training event.