NEWS | April 16, 2012

Mongolia-Alaska Guard exchange info during Arctic Care

By Maj. Guy Hayes, Air National Guard Alaska National Guard

NOME, Alaska - Four medical military representatives from Mongolia visited the village of Golovin, Alaska, April 15 to see U.S. military medical professionals provide care to underserved Alaska residents during Arctic Care 2012.

The visit was part of the National Guard's State Partnership Program and provided a unique opportunity for the Mongolian service members to observe Arctic Care in hopes of bringing back knowledge to their own country.

Partnered in 2003, Alaska and Mongolia have formed a relationship sharing information through multiple exchanges and exercises. Resembling each other in size and terrain, the partnership benefits both Alaska and Mongolia according to Army Maj. Wayne Don, director of the Alaska-Mongolia State Partnership Program.

"Arctic Care exposes them to our techniques and procedures and allows them to witness the benefit of an interagency approach," Don said. "Seeing how we execute this mission in a complex, logistically challenging operational environment and having the opportunity to experience rural Alaska is extremely beneficial."

With more than 250 military medical professionals providing care in 16 remote locations, the opportunity for the Mongolians to visit one of these villages and experience how the U.S. military operates and trains was invaluable.

"We are very happy we came to Alaska to participate in Arctic Care 2012," said Mongolian Maj. Naranzul Tumurbaatar, a physician with the Mongolian Armed Forces. "We really enjoyed visiting Golovin today. It was beneficial because we will take this knowledge home and share it with our Mongolian health care providers."

Travelling on an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, the Mongolian officers also experienced just how remote it can be in western Alaska, a point Don thinks they can relate to in Mongolia.

"The environmental and medical challenges of providing medical services to remote portions of Alaska and Mongolia are similar," Don said. "I think there is a lot to be gained by allowing our partner country to participate and observe in our exercise and share some of the lessons learned with us."

Sponsored by the Innovative Readiness Training program under the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, Arctic Care is bringing health care and veterinary support to residents in the Bering Strait and Norton Sound regions of western Alaska from April 9-23.