• Members of the Mongolian Armed Forces huddle to listen to an after actions review provided by an instructor from the Asia Pacific Counter-Improvised Explosive Device, or IED, Fusion Center, at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia. The Mongolians just completed a training exercise that sharpened their skills in recognizing and defeating IEDs while on a mounted patrol. The counter IED training was part of Khan Quest, a U.S. Army Pacific exercise August 11-23, 2012. Khan Quest is held annually with the Mongolian Armed Forces and promotes multinational cooperation and regional security.

    Hawaii counter-IED experts conquer Khaan Quest

    Members of the Mongolian Armed Forces huddle to listen to an after actions review provided by an instructor from the Asia Pacific Counter-Improvised Explosive Device, or IED, Fusion Center, at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia. The Mongolians just...

  • Mongolian Soldiers keep a sharp lookout for improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, while on a convoy at the Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia. The training event was part of exercise Khan Quest held Aug. 11-23, 2012. Khan Quest is a U.S. Army Pacific sponsored exercise conducted annually with the Mongolian Armed Forces designed to promote multinational cooperation and regional security.

    Hawaii counter-IED experts conquer Khaan Quest

    Mongolian Soldiers keep a sharp lookout for improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, while on a convoy at the Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia. The training event was part of exercise Khan Quest held Aug. 11-23, 2012. Khan Quest is a U.S. Army Pacific...

  • South Korean Soldiers use force to subdue an uncooperative person during a checkpoint security training event at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, during Khan Quest, held Aug. 11-23, 2012. The training provided the South Koreans proper tactics, techniques, and procedures while operating at a checkpoint or base entrance. Khan Quest is a U.S. Army Pacific sponsored exercise conducted annually with Mongolian Armed Forces designed to promote multinational cooperation and regional security.

    Hawaii counter-IED experts conquer Khaan Quest

    South Korean Soldiers use force to subdue an uncooperative person during a checkpoint security training event at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, during Khan Quest, held Aug. 11-23, 2012. The training provided the South Koreans proper tactics...

  • A Mongolian Armed Forces officer instructs a South Korean Soldier on the proper techniques for personnel search at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia. The training was part of the entry control point lane where students were instructed on security and detecting improvised explosive devices at a checkpoint or base entrance. This field training was part of Khan Quest August 11-23, 2012. Khan Quest is a U.S. Army Pacific sponsored exercise conducted annually with Mongolian Armed Forces designed to promote multinational cooperation and regional security.

    Hawaii counter-IED experts conquer Khaan Quest

    A Mongolian Armed Forces officer instructs a South Korean Soldier on the proper techniques for personnel search at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia. The training was part of the entry control point lane where students were instructed on security and...

  • Soldiers from the Mongolian Armed Forces use various optical sights to spot inert counter improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, during a training event at exercise Khan Quest, held Aug. 11-23, 2012. Khan Quest is a U.S. Army Pacific sponsored exercise conducted annually with the Mongolian Armed Forces designed to promote multinational cooperation and regional security.

    Hawaii counter-IED experts conquer Khaan Quest

    Soldiers from the Mongolian Armed Forces use various optical sights to spot inert counter improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, during a training event at exercise Khan Quest, held Aug. 11-23, 2012. Khan Quest is...

  • A U.S. Marine picks up a fellow Marine during a dismounted counter-improvised explosive device, or IED, training lane at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, during exercise Khan Quest, held Aug. 11-23, 2012. The Marines from 4th Marine Regiment based on Okinawa, were reacting to a complex IED attack and had to respond with evacuation of simulated casualties. Khan Quest is a U.S. Army Pacific sponsored exercise conducted annually with the Mongolian Armed Forces designed to promote multinational cooperation and regional security.

    Hawaii counter-IED experts conquer Khaan Quest

    A U.S. Marine picks up a fellow Marine during a dismounted counter-improvised explosive device, or IED, training lane at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, during exercise Khan Quest, held Aug. 11-23, 2012. The Marines from 4th Marine Regiment based...

  • A South Korean Soldier provides security atop an armored personnel carrier at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, during a checkpoint training exercise at Khan Quest, held Aug. 11-23, 2012. The Soldier is a member of the South Korean Specific Forces taking part in an entry control point exercise aimed at bettering procedures for security and detecting improvised explosive devices while manning a checkpoint or base entrance. Khan Quest is a U.S. Army Pacific sponsored exercise conducted annually with the Mongolian Armed Forces designed to promote multinational cooperation and regional security.

    Hawaii counter-IED experts conquer Khaan Quest

    A South Korean Soldier provides security atop an armored personnel carrier at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, during a checkpoint training exercise at Khan Quest, held Aug. 11-23, 2012. The Soldier is a member of the South Korean Specific Forces...

  • A Soldier from the Alaska National Guard instructs an approaching vehicle to stop at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, during a checkpoint training exercise at Khan Quest, held Aug. 11-23, 2012. The Alaskans were instructed on proper security procedures and counter improvised explosive device, or IED, detection while manning an entry control point. Khan Quest is a U.S. Army Pacific sponsored exercise conducted annually with the Mongolian Armed Forces designed to promote multinational cooperation and regional security.

    Hawaii counter-IED experts conquer Khaan Quest

    A Soldier from the Alaska National Guard instructs an approaching vehicle to stop at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, during a checkpoint training exercise at Khan Quest, held Aug. 11-23, 2012. The Alaskans were instructed on proper security...

FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia (Aug. 23, 2012) -- The latest training engagement involving counter-improvised explosive device instructors from Hawaii certainly had an international flavor to it.

Four countries, including the United States, were part of the counter-improvised explosive device, or IED, field training exercise for Khaan Quest, which ran from Aug. 11 to Aug. 23.

Khaan Quest is a U.S. Army Pacific-sponsored exercise conducted annually with the Mongolian Armed Forces designed to promote multinational cooperation and regional security. This is the 10th year Mongolia has hosted armed forces from around the Asia Pacific region. In addition to the host Mongolians and the United States, forces from India and South Korea participated in the field training.

Mongolia isn't considered a hotbed of IED activity, but the destination its Soldiers are headed to is. Two Mongolian infantry platoons that participated in the exercise are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom sometime this year.

"They were taking this seriously," said Staff Sergeant Casey Brantner, a trainer with the Asia Pacific Counter-IED Fusion Center from Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

"We remind U.S. forces that it's not a matter of if you deploy, but when. We drove home that same message to the Mongolians and they responded well by indicating that they want more of what we have to offer," said Brantner.

Brantner said the counter-IED training his team provided helped build skill sets needed for deploying forces to Afghanistan or peacekeeping missions with the United Nations. Brantner's team helped prepare an Indian platoon for a peace support mission to Congo. They also provided instruction for South Korean Special Forces headed for Afghanistan, Lebanon, and South Sudan.

Armed with the latest tactics, techniques, and procedures integrated with up-to-date intelligence, a mobile training team from Hawaii deployed to Mongolia to provide counter-IED instruction that included two days of academic classes in IED awareness and homemade explosives.

Over the next several days, participants were given practical exercises on operating in an IED environment on mounted and dismounted patrols, IED observation/identification, and checkpoint security.

Christopher Grant, the mobile team leader, said all of the training lanes had real-world scenarios deploying forces would encounter.

"We wanted to enhance the capacity to prepare, train, manage, and conduct operations in an IED environment," said Grant.

Wanting to have a multinational flavor to the field training, "we had our team augmented by trainers from all the participating countries," said Grant. "We were able to share tactics and procedures; and that just builds lasting relationships."

Grant said the Mongolian Armed Forces Peace Support Center at Five Hills afforded instructors an ideal landscape to conduct counter-IED training. The high altitude, wide open fields surrounded by mountains resemble the type of terrain found in Afghanistan.

Mongolian Sgt. Gantumur Enkhbat, training sergeant, who has a deployment to Afghanistan, said the subjects were real and relevant for their upcoming mission.

"When we conduct our own counter-IED training, we don't have all the tools that make it realistic. We use rocks or some other material to replicate devices. During this exercise our Soldiers got to see what an IED looks like, how it's place, and most important how to react to one that is found," said Enkhbat.

In addition to partner nations receiving training, forces from the Alaska Army National Guard and Marines from Hawaii, Okinawa, and Twenty Nine Palms, Calif., sharpened their counter-IED skills during Khaan Quest.

"It's a lot more challenging that what we've had before," said Marine Sgt. Ian Merritt, a squad leader with the 4th Marine Regiment from Okinawa. "It was nice to have CIED professionals who came out to teach this and know how to actually place the devices the way it's found in theater. That's invaluable, and it only enhanced the training I've had in the past."

"My biggest take away has to be the devices and the techniques," said Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Patnode from the Alaska Army National Guard. "All the instructors we dealt with had a lot of real world experience, knowledge and current intelligence. They were able to bring it all together in a cohesive manner."

Lead instructor Grant said all the participating forces were receptive to the training and asked they come back to provide more advance instruction.

"That's a very good feeling as instructors; students are appreciative of your efforts and that fact that they believe this is important enough to ask you back. Plain and simple we provide the type of information and skills that increases a Soldier's survivability on the battlefield. I don't think there's anything in our profession more noble than that," said Grant.

Page last updated Thu August 23rd, 2012 at 00:00