Mongolia was fantastic! In fact, I cannot just do one blog post for it so I will do as I did earlier for Torres del Paine - in a few themed posts.
This one is about the training, as the header very explicitly indicates. But I was not really able to take pictures during the training itself for one simple reason - the training was very good, and I didn't have the leisure to go around playing photographer.
First of all - I had been told our platoon would be the trainer platoon. That was not in fact true. The trainers were selected from each participating army - Indian, Nepalese, Mongolian, Thai and US. There was then one trainee platoon from each army, and a lot of Mongolian support. This system worked very well, and all the soldiers were very professional.
This Mongolian officer is telling us during an After Action Review that our Cordon and search method is "bad - very bad." "I made a list" - he says - "of all the things that went right, and all the things that went wrong. Eight things went right, and fourteen things went wrong. Very bad."
The Indian Army was very good - their officers are very proficient, and they have a lot of experience in places like Cashmere.
As for the Nepalese, they have a lot of UN experience in places like Haiti and DRC Congo. They also like to sing and dance, with drums in the tents at night, and with AK-47 magazines if they are stuck in formation long enough.
Many of the UN peacekeeping / peace enforcing TTPs were very similar to US army TTPs. Convoy operations, for example, were just like Iraq but with a blue flag and a different set of rules of engagement:
The range was fun, and I had time to take pictures there. Here is our motor sergeant reading up on the AK-47 and RPK before coming up to shoot:
And I really enjoyed being a safety and trainer for the M4 carbine live fire range. Here, SPC Thompson helps a Mongolian soldier safely clear a feeding malfunction.
The Mongolian army also had shoot the Dragunov sniper rifle. I know, that's not really UN related, but it is a very nice weapon so I was glad I got to shoot it.
The lanes for this exercise were: convoy, checkpoint, aid relief distribution, patrol, cordon and search (contraband interdiction), and disarmement. This is a picture of our platoon with a Mongolian contingent of role players and trainers, and a Nepalese officer, on a UN color BTR-60: