Mongolian Army Day Ceremony held in Kabul

By Chief Petty Officer Dave Gordon

KABUL, Afghanistan--Hundreds of NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan forces turned out to witness a unique lunchtime display of hand to hand combat, close - order drill and formation marching with the Mongolian Task Force One-Afghanistan in celebration of Mongolian Army Day at Camp Eggers.

The modern Mongolian Army won their first major battle against the Chinese Army in March of 1921. Since then Mongolia celebrates the occasion this time every year, and the task force stationed at Camp Eggers recognized the day with demonstrations to coalition forces.

"At home I usually stay with my soldiers during this holiday," said Mongolian Army 1st Lt. Damdinbazar Munkhbat "but here we get to show our training to our coalition partners."

For their holiday audience, they performed marching maneuvers, martial arts demonstrations, and formal handling of arms.

"They are security but they can do drill, they can do martial arts, these guys are very good" said Polish Army Capt. Dariusz Lukaszewski who worked with the Mongolian Task Force in Iraq and now in Afghanistan.

The celebration started with close-order drill by approximately sixty Mongolian troops. Packed in an area no bigger then a residential driveway, soldiers performed precision facing maneuvers followed by white-gloved rifle handling.

"We take our regular training seriously, but for these presentations today, they practiced on their own time" Munkhbat said.

Later into the presentation, Mongolian commandos quick-time marched into the area then started hand-to-hand combat exercises.

They quickly shifted to martial arts demonstrations, with soldiers breaking boards and sparing with one another using tae-kwon-do and karate skills. Coalition troops applauded each demonstration, but let loose with loud cheers during the grand finale when commandos smashed flaming bricks with their bare hands.

"This was terrific," said Tech. Sgt. Michael McCovery who happened to be on Camp Eggers from another base, "It's nice to see another force demonstrate their skills like this-fantastic."

The Mongolian Expeditionary Task Force provides fixed site security working closely with other security teams at Camp Eggers. The unit is responsible for tower security on the perimeter and closely coordinates their security actions with the battle defense operations center.


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