Guardsmen recognized for overseas medical work
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia — Approximately 15 Alaska National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, along with service members from Mongolia, the Republic of Korea, India, the United States and Canada were recognized during a dedication ceremony for their efforts during a medical civil assistance project as part of Khaan Quest 2011 held at school in the 9th Khoroo, Khaan-Uul District of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Aug. 11.
Distinguished leaders, observers and local community members gathered to celebrate the success of the medical civil assistance project.
“We are here today to celebrate a truly multi-national effort, improving the health care of over 4,500 people and numerous animals from throughout the 9th Khoroo District in Ulaanbaatar,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph Chaves, deputy commanding general, Army National Guard, U.S. Army Pacific Command.
Khaan Quest 2011 is a multi-national peace operations exercise consisting of five different events including, a U.N. peacekeeping seminar, a field training exercise, an engineering civic action program, a command post exercise and a medical readiness training exercise.
The purpose of the medical civil assistance project was to increase interoperability between the participating counties and develop the skills to operate in an environment with limited resources, supplies, transportation and life-support facilities.
“This was a great experience and a great training exercise,” said Alaska Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Clark, non-commissioned officer in charge of the medical readiness exercise, from Chugiak, Alaska. “Because of the joint effort we were able to help a lot of local residents and provide them medical care.”
Throughout the five-day period, the multi-national joint medical team, consisting of service members and medical professionals, offered the local patients services such as dental, optometric, neurological, pediatric and gynecological care.
“Some of the local residents here can’t afford medical supplies or local treatment,” said Spc. Charles Howard, Alaska Army National Guard Medical Detachment dental assistant, from Anchorage, Alaska. “So they came here and we we’re able to help them out.”
During the ceremony, Chaves expressed his appreciation to those who made the mission a success and congratulated the talented team of military and civilian professionals.
”The mission of mercy is but one manifestation of a truly united effort to enhance stability and security in the Asia-Pacific Region,” said Chaves. “It is no accident that the five nations involved here today – Mongolia, Canada, India, the Republic of Korea and the United States – are among the most committed to building military capacity in the region, and I welcome this latest opportunity to renew the bonds of friendship that bind us so closely together.”
Clark said he considered the joint exercise to be an overall success considering the Alaska Guardsmen involved were able to cross-train in different medical fields, experience different cultures and work shoulder to shoulder with various medical professionals from the Pacific Region.
“Absolutely, the medical readiness exercise mission was accomplished,” Clark said. “We saw over 4,500 patients in five days, gave back to the community and everyone involved was able to take something away from this exercise.”