|Oregon Soldiers head to Mongolia for UN international peacekeeping training exercise
Story by Spc. April L. Dustin
Oregon National Guard Public Affairs
More than 90 Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers, in B Company (-) 2nd Battalion 162nd Infantry, based out of Corvallis and Eugene, will travel to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for three weeks in August during the Khaan Quest IV 2006 training exercise to help train members of the Mongolian Armed Forces in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
B Company, 2-162 Inf. Bn. will deploy two infantry platoons, five trainers, tactical operations personnel, and several medics to Mongolia to participate in Khaan Quest IV, a platoon level, peace support operations training exercise, sponsored by the Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) and U.S. Pacific Command. The exercise is designed to conduct multi-national training and promote positive military-to-military relationships among participating nations.
"The purpose of Khaan Quest is for all participating nations to gain United Nations Training Recognition, strengthen their peace operational support capabilities, improve inter-operability, and gain planning expertise," said Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Glesmann, battalion operations NCO and Khaan Quest training NCOIC for 2-162 Inf. Bn.
B Company will join 220 U.S. military personnel to train 630 MAF soldiers, and more than 240 international participants from Fiji, Tonga, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Korea. Many other countries including, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, Canada and Japan will be international observers during the training.
"Oregon Soldiers will get the opportunity to interact with at least six other national militaries, which will give them a greater understanding of their soldiers and their culture," said Glesmann. "Soldiers will gain a better understanding of how to conduct peacekeeping operations and get an operational familiarization on participating in multi-national missions."
Participating nations will receive Training Recognition from the United Nations in support of the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), a five-year program managed by the U.S. Department of State to address gaps in international peace operations. One goal of the GPOI program is to train 75,000 peacekeepers around the world.
"U.S. Pacific Command and GPOI wants to train 15,000 peacekeepers in the Asia-Oceana region over the next five years," said Capt. Peter Aguilar, Khaan Quest project officer for 2-162 Inf. Bn. "Khaan Quest IV is the capstone event of this training for 2006."
Aguilar said this exercise will assist in establishing and training the MAF's 150th Peacekeeping Operations Battalion.
In the past three years, Khaan Quest training exercises in Mongolia were conducted by the U.S. Marines. Through Mongolian Defense Reform, the U.S. has assisted the transformation of the MAF from a Soviet era force into a rapidly deployable, peacekeeping force that is inter-operable with U.S. and Coalition Forces. The U.S. welcomes Mongolian military participation in Coalition efforts and the Khaan Quest exercises were intended to improve the military relationship between the two countries.
"Previous exercises were bi-lateral, and were smaller-scale training missions unrelated to GPOI," said Glesmann. "This year, Khaan Quest IV will be a multi-national event and focus on peacekeeping operations to achieve UN Training Recognition."
Glesmann said the Khaan Quest IV, Field Training Exercise will be held at Five Hills Training Area (Tavan Tolgoi) and will consist of three phases. During the first phase, nearly 50 soldiers from the participating nations will become UN Certified Trainers to support GPOI training missions. The second phase will consist of U.S. and Mongolian weapons familiarization, and six tactical training lanes where Soldiers will share techniques and procedures for 33 peacekeeping tasks. All participating nations will be evaluated by the United Nations Training Assistance Team during the third phase.
"It's a lot like the validation process our units go through at mobilization sites before going to Iraq or Afghanistan," said Aguilar.
Glesmann said five Oregon Soldiers will receive UN certification as instructors and two Oregon infantry platoons will gain Training Recognition as UN peacekeepers.
"This could open some doors in the future for Oregon Soldiers, primarily for the trainers, to participate in UN peacekeeping operations," said Glesmann.
Aguilar also said participation in Khaan Quest could develop a habitual relationship between the Oregon National Guard and UN GPOI.
"Besides returning from this exercise with our own training and experiences, our success may lead to further involvement with GPOI training and operations," said Aguilar.
To view the U.S. Pacific Command press release please visit: http://www.pacom.mil/news/news2006/060720khaanquest06.shtml
Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office
Capt Mike Braibish