Alaska Guard members support multinational exercise, strengthen Pacific Region peacekeeping operations
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia – About 42 Alaska National Guard members are participating in Khaan Quest 2011, a multinational training exercise held at the Five Hills Training Area here, July 25 to Aug. 12.
Khaan Quest 2011 is designed to strengthen the capabilities of U.S., Mongolian, and other international forces in the Pacific region, to enhance peace-support operations, training, and increase interoperability and planning capabilities among the participating nations.
“This is a great opportunity for all Alaska Guardsmen to come see a foreign culture, operate in an unfamiliar environment and to exercise overcoming the challenges that arise when working with other nations such a language barriers and cultural differences,” said Army 1st Sgt. William Crowley, Alaska Army National Guard plans and operations non-commissioned officer.
The Guard members have joined efforts with 220 members of the Mongolian Armed Forces, 100 U.S. military and 180 international military representatives to conduct peace keeping exercises consisting of five different events: a U.N. peacekeeping seminar, a command post exercise, field training exercise, an engineering civic action program and a medical training exercise.
“The mission of the overall exercise is to increase the state partnership program of Alaska and the relationship with Mongolia through a multi-national exercise focusing on peace support operations, a medical exercise that treats the local populace and an engineer exercise that builds a humanitarian aid facility,” Crowley said.
Since 2003, the Alaska National Guard and Mongolia have been forming a relationship and plan to build on this relationship far into the future through the National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program.
“We are really drawing upon all the experience the Mongolians have in their peacekeeping,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Darling, 38th Troop Command operations officer.“We are learning as much from them as they are from us.”
Reflecting on the important lessons learned while operating as the deputy commander of a combined joint-brigade headquarters Darling emphasized the importance the national diversity brings to the exercise.
“Everyone brings a different experience and no one’s is better or worse, just different,” he said. “The sooner you realize the strengths and weaknesses of all your partners, the stronger you’ll be as a combined staff.”
Article by Army Spc. Michelle Brown, Alaska National Guard