ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia -- Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) commander, met with senior leaders from Mongolia and the United States here May 14, to seek opportunities to enhance cooperation and partnership with the Mongolian Air Force Command (MAFC).
“It is a real honor for me to be here to gain a greater understanding of our two air forces and identify ways we can make progress together,” Brown said. “We have many shared interests and values and we look forward to greater cooperation to ensure peace and stability in the region and around the world.”
Though Mongolia has a history of military aviation capability, the MAFC only recently reestablished in January 2017, making Brown’s visit not only his first time in country, but also the first for a PACAF commander since the MAFC’s establishment.
Developing an air force has been one of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s long-term priorities for greater engagement with Mongolia, and part of the command’s overall goal to assist the Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) in pursuing defense reform priorities.
As such, the visit builds upon a number of frequent engagements between the two nations, to include Defense Minister Enkhbold Nyamaa’s visit with Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan in April in Washington D.C., and the inaugural Airman-to-Airman Talks hosted at PACAF Headquarters at Joint Base Pearl-Harbor Hickam, Hawaii, in March.
“It was really important of me to come here after the Airman-to-Airman Talks to solidify the topics we discussed and highlight our commitment to the long-term relationship,” Brown said. “Frequent engagement at various levels is important to building the relationship and enhancing capabilities in areas of shared interest throughout the region.”
Throughout the two-day visit, Brown met with key defense and military leadership, to include Minister Nyamaa, MAF Chief of General Staff Maj. Gen. Ganbat Ayush, MAFC Commander Brig. Gen. Enkhbayar Ochir, as well as U.S. Ambassador Michael Klecheski and members of the U.S. Embassy.
In addition to evaluating the success of the Airman-to-Airman Talks, discussions during the visit included opportunities to enhance training, exercises and subject matter expert exchanges.
In Mongolian tradition and showcasing the importance of horses to their culture, Brown had the honor of receiving a horse to be named by him, and to remain in country to exemplify the enduring relationship. In tribute to his home state of Texas and the state from which he now serves, Hawaii, the general named the young horse, “Lone Star Koa.” Koa is Hawaiian for warrior.
In addition to the long-standing relationship of supporting missions in Afghanistan and the United Nations peacekeeping operations, other examples of the bilateral relationship include the strong bonds between the Alaska Air National Guard through the State Partnership Program as well as participation and observation in a number of multilateral events and exercises throughout the region.
“There is plenty of opportunity between the things we have worked on together in the past, the things we are doing today, and our commitment to increased engagement in the future,” Brown said.
Additionally, in 2018 the first Mongolian cadet entered the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the first MAFC officer completed U.S. pilot training.
In late July, early August, Mongolia will cohost a Pacific Angel humanitarian event, part of a three-part series of humanitarian assistance and civil military assistance events held annually around the Indo-Pacific region.
Brown also provided an invitation for the MAFC to attend the Indo-Pacific Safety Air Force Exchange in August in Hawaii. He is scheduled to host MAFC leadership, alongside many other partner nations, at the next Pacific Air Chiefs Symposium at PACAF in December.
Next month, the MAF and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command will co-host the annual Khaan Quest multilateral peacekeeping exercise in Mongolia, considered the cornerstone of the defense cooperation between the two nations. More than 1,700 military members are expected to take part in various exercises between June 14-28, to include an appearance from INDOPACOM leadership.