Khaan Quest 2012 ends with closing ceremony
By Lance Cpl. Matthew Manning, Okinawa Marine Staff

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Secretary of the Navy Mr. Ray Mabus addresses participants and distinguished visitors during the closing ceremony for Exercise Khaan Quest 2012 at the Mongolian Armed Forces Peace Support Operations Training Center at the Five Hills Training Area near Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Aug. 23.
MONGOLIAN ARMED FORCES PEACE SUPPORT OPERATIONS TRAINING CENTER, FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia- A closing ceremony was held to mark the end of Exercise Khaan Quest 2012 at the Mongolian Armed Forces Peace Support Operations Training Center in the Five Hills Training Area near Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia Aug. 23.

Khaan Quest 2012 is a 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.

"It is an honor to be here at the closing ceremony for Exercise Khaan Quest," said Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy. "It is a mark of the importance the United States places on our partnership with Mongolia and on Khaan Quest, that both the Secretary of the Army and myself as Secretary of the Navy have visited during this exercise. Khaan Quest started out ten years ago as a bilateral exercise between the Mongolian Armed Forces and the United States Marine Corps. It has expanded over that decade to include participants of over 10 countries and almost 1,000 people."

The scope of Khaan Quest has also expanded as well, according to Mabus.

"Exercise Khaan Quest incorporated five main components consisting of a multinational platoon-level field-training-exercise lanes training focused on peacekeeping operations based on United Nations training standards, a multinational, combined battalion-level staff exercise, and a Humanitarian Civic Assistance Medical project," said Lt. Gen. Ts. Byambajav, chief of general staff for the Mongolian Armed Forces. "During the exercise, specialized forces from Mongolia, United States, Canada and the Republic of Korea were able to help 4,500 people in a humanitarian medical outreach."

The main focus of Khaan Quest is to train and prepare militaries for peacekeeping missions, according to Byambajav.

"Peacekeeping is not an easy task," said Mr. Z. Enkhbold, speaker of the parliament for Mongolia. "It is a essential duty served on behalf of the international community in countries that are either striving to solve an internal conflict or international disputes in their region. Peacekeeping demands that all services possess courage, resilience, professionalism, experience, skills and compassion."

By participating in Exercise Khaan Quest 2012, nations are able to showcase their resolve in peacekeeping missions around the world, according to Mabus.

"Khaan Quest serves as a practical example of the closeness of Mongolia and United States relations," said Mabus. "It also serves as a symbolic commitment to peace and security around the world that is demonstrated by the participants of Khaan Quest."

Khaan Quest offered participants not only the ability to see how other countries operate, but forge friendships, according to Byambajav.

"I have no doubt that participants learned from other nations during the exercise. The core outcome of the exercise is the sharing of knowledge and experience."

Building such friendships can prove to be invaluable when it comes to peacekeeping operations, according to Mabus.

"Together you have built expertise, together you have built interoperability, and together you have build trust," said Mabus. "In the future, whatever mission is needed, we will already know each other."