War on Terrorism

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Alaska Guardmembers deploy in support of Mongolian Expeditionary Forces

By Army Staff Sgt. Karima Turner
Alaska National Guard

CAMP DENALI, Alaska (3/23/11) - Two Alaska Army National Guardmembers recently deployed as U.S. liaisons in support of Mongolian Expeditionary Forces in Afghanistan.

Army Maj. Scott Monson, 297th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, and Army Sgt. Maj. Richard Hildreth, recruiting and retention command, were selected as the next officer-non-commissioned officer team to deploy to Afghanistan in support of this mission.

The team is the fourth rotation of its kind, with the first in 2009, and will act primarily as U.S. liaisons for the MEF, but will also be available as tactical advisors.

Monson and Hildreth mobilized in late January in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, conducting training in Fort Benning, Ga. prior to beginning their long journey to Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan, where they are scheduled to be deployed for six to eight months.

“As liaisons and tactical advisors to the Mongolian Expeditionary Teams, our guys provide support to the Mongolians as needed,” said Maj. Mark Binggeli, a former liaison officer to the MEF.

“The Mongolian Expeditionary Forces don’t have airlift, they don’t have forward operating bases, billets, anything like that. When the initial team was sent over in 2009 they established places for them to stay, uniform and equipment requirements and helped to facilitate other needs. Now the liaisons are assisting in ensuring that support continues.”

Working through the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership program, the Alaska National Guard formed a state partnership with Mongolia that has lasted nearly a decade.

“I think it’s a good international relationship that we’ve developed and that relationship continues to be strengthened by sending these teams to assist,” said Binggeli. “It also benefits our senior NCOs and officers because they get a really good experience working with foreign nations and actually conducting these kinds of deployments.”

As the Mongolians’ direct link to the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the base support group at Camp Eggers and other sites in country, the Alaska Guardmembers act specifically as U.S. representative liaisons and advisors to ensure proper communication and understanding between the Mongolians and other U.S. or NATO elements during their deployment.

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