FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia -- Serving in the military offers many opportunities, including the chance to travel to different countries to train with other nations.

Khaan Quest 2012 participants are experiencing this unique opportunity during the multinational exercise sponsored by U.S. Army Pacific and hosted by the Mongolian Armed Forces. Khaan Quest 2012 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote regional peace and security.

Approximately 600 service members from the Mongolian Armed Forces, Alaska Army National Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, Republic of Korea and India are participating in the Field Training Exercise (FTX) portion of Khaan Quest. Japan and Australia are also involved in the FTX, with instructors educating troops from the participating countries.

"The Field Training Exercise concentrates on enhancing the capability of partner nations to prepare for and conduct future peacekeeping operations," said Command Sgt. Maj. Clinton K. Brown II, 297th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. "We are achieving that objective while bridging international gaps and creating lasting partnerships."

Over seven days, the multinational troops are conducting platoon level training lanes.

"In this FTX, we are conducting many different types of exercises," said Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Capt. Go Yoshiyuki, an instructor at this year's exercise. "We are teaching disarmament, providing security for and conducting a distribution site, counter-improvised explosive device training, checkpoint operation training, as well as mounted and dismounted patrols."

One of the biggest considerations during peacekeeping operations service members need keep in mind is the use of force, according to Yoshiyuki.

"All of your efforts to provide aid can be ruined if you use force during a peacekeeping operation," said U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Alan J. Maria Jr., a platoon sergeant in 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. "If you are setting up a food distribution site and a scenario arises which requires a use of force to defend yourself or others, people may become afraid to approach you for help. This is a difficult concept to grasp for (service members) who are not accustomed to peacekeeping operations."

The Khaan Quest FTX provides the training and exchange of tactics, techniques and procedures for peacekeeping operations between the participating nations.

"This is a great opportunity for service members from various countries to train and learn from each other," said Mongolian Armed Forces 1st Lt. E. Gantumur, an instructor at Khaan Quest. "Personally, I know this exercise will help my soldiers and I in upcoming deployments. The terrain is similar to the areas we will be operating in and we are also learning new techniques for how to effectively complete peace-support operations."

Through the military-to-military exchange, participants hope for continuing opportunities to build upon relationships forged during the exercise.

"I would like to see this exercise continue to grow and more nations to participate," said Yoshiyuki. "Peacekeeping is a very important mission and the more nations able to join in peacekeeping efforts throughout the world, the better."

Page last updated Thu August 23rd, 2012 at 16:02