An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | July 8, 2014

US Marines lead Mongolians during nine-day survivor course at KQ14

By Cpl. Alyssa N. Gunton

Your plane crashes in the middle of nowhere; you have no idea where you are. Now you and the other survivors must try to find help but also stay alive with whatever you can find.

This was the scenario a platoon of Mongolian Armed Forces service members played out with the direction of their MAF and U.S. instructors from June 21-29 throughout the endless miles of open land at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, during a survival course at Exercise Khaan Quest 2014.

KQ14 is a regularly scheduled, multinational exercise hosted annually by Mongolian Armed Forces and co-sponsored this year by U.S. Army, Pacific, and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. KQ14 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote regional peace and security. This year marks the 12th iteration of this training event. 

During the first day of their journey, the service members learned how to safely rappel with the instruction of U.S. Marines Staff Sgt. Gayle L. Anders and Sgt. Gustavo A. Pesquera. Anders is the operations chief for 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and Pesquera is an instructor at the Jungle Warfare Training Center at Camp Gonsalves, Okinawa, Japan.

“We rappelled off the side of a large rock area on our first day,” said MAF Maj. Z. Bayarsaikhan, an instructor of the course. “We practiced, team by team, climbing with and without equipment.”
Once they were proficient in climbing and rappelling, the men stayed at the top of the mountain for the next two days and then followed the ridge line to the forest to spend a few more days.

The service members practiced a number of survivor skills, such as starting a fire, collecting and purifying water, building shelter, crossing water, and land navigation, according to Pesquera, a San Juan, Puerto Rico, native.

“The Mongolians exceeded (expectations) in everything,” said Pesquera. “Land navigation was actually what they loved the most; they didn’t know how to do land nav. They had old compasses and only knew how to point north and navigate from there. So we taught them how to use the compasses and do different things with them.” 

The service members were unable to catch and eat large animals they came in contact with, like cows and sheep, because they were training close to a reservation.

“We’ve been eating what we can find, like grasshoppers and bugs,” said MAF Capt. N. Gerelbadrakh, an instructor of the course. 
The MAF service members often combined their skills and knowledge with the new tactics the instructors taught, often making a whole new method, according to Pesquera.

“They are fast learners and hard workers,” said Pesquera. “Every time we taught them how to do something, they’d teach us how they do it. So it was a pretty good experience because it was a different way of seeing things.”

All service members participating learned new skills and successfully survived nine days in the wilderness before they hiked roughly 10 kilometers to return to the KQ14 training site.

“We shared our information with each other,” said Gerelbadrakh. “This has been absolutely fun. We’ve learned some useful and necessary training during this course, like how to survive mountain and forest areas. The survival course is so useful for us. So the guys want to continue this next year.”

Like Us
Follow Us



U.S., South Korea Want Peace in Indo-Pacific
Jan. 31, 2023 - Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III stressed that the goal of the U.S.-South Korean alliance is peace — not conflict — following meetings in Seoul, South Korea, today.The secretary made the remarks at a news conference...

U.S. Army Advisors Strengthen Partnership in Thailand
Sgt. 1st Class Justin Babb takes part in close quarters battle rehearsals with members of the Royal Thai Army. Babb is part of an SFAB Team assigned to Force Package 23-1, the 5th SFAB's forward-deployed element.
Jan. 31, 2023 - NAKHON NAYOK, Thailand – Three Advisor Teams from 2nd Battalion, 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade partnered with the Royal Thai Army across Thailand during a multi-month rotation into theater beginning in October 2022...

U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Travels to Papua New Guinea
Indo-Pacific Command, traveled to Papua New Guinea
Jan. 30, 2023 - PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea -- Admiral John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, traveled to Papua New Guinea January 29-30 to underscore the U.S. commitment to advance shared interests toward building a...

Austin Looks to Build on Strengths of Alliances With South Korea, the Philippines
In this file photo, an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the “Blue Diamonds” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146 approaches for an arrested landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). Nimitz is in 7th Fleet conducting routine operations. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Jan. 30, 2023 - WASHINGTON -- The security environment in the Indo-Pacific is growing more complex and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III will meet with allies in the Republic of Korea and the Philippines to continue efforts to...

Australia, Japan, U.S. Stand Up Multinational Task Force for Cope North
Jan. 30, 2023 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Air forces from Australia, Japan, and the United States have begun arriving in Guam to establish the command and control multinational task force for Cope North (CN) 2023, which runs...