U.S. Defense Secretary Dr. Mark Esper visited Mongolia for talks with the Mongolian Defense Minister Nyamaagiin Enkhbold.

The Pentagon chief received a horse as a gift from the Mongolian defense chief during a ceremony.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper was gifted with a Mongolian horse that he named Marshall, after World War II U.S. General George Marshall, during his visit to Mongolia, August 8, 2019. (Screenshot/AP Video)

Esper named the horse “Marshall,” after Gen. George Marshall, a World War II U.S. general who later served as secretary of defense and secretary of state under President Harry Truman.

The U.S. defense chief was in Mongolia to reaffirm U.S.-Mongolia shared values and the U.S. role in supporting democracy and freedom.

“It’s my deep privilege to be here with you and have the opportunity to think of different ways we can further strengthen the ties between our two countries and our two peoples,” said Esper, thanking Enkhbold for the “great opportunity.”


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In a tweet, Esper stated, “We are proud to be your ‘third neighbor,'” recapping the U.S.-Mongolia shared values, which is “a commitment to democracy and human rights.”

During his visit, the U.S. defense secretary was presented with a Mongolian horse that is considered one of the world’s oldest breeds of horses, with bloodlines dating back to ancient times—since about 2000 B.C.

Esper told the story of the significance of the chosen name during the naming of the horse ceremony that he would like to name the horse “after an army officer who served in China between 1924 and 1927.”

He stated that the young army officer was in charge of an infantry regiment that he equipped with horses.

And he spoke about how the young officer searched for the best horses from the region. So “he came to Mongolia and procured horses for his infantry regiment,” said Esper.

As the story went, the young officer saw a young lieutenant under his command disciplining a horse by striking the animal.

The army officer punished the lieutenant for striking the horse because he had a high regard for Mongolian horses, said Esper.

“That young army officer eventually became one of the greatest army officers in the United States Army” and became the Secretary of Defense,” said Esper, who continued revealing that he and that army officer shared the same hometown.

With that, Esper concluded his story telling that this army officer was General George Marshall. He was not only a great warrior, but also a great peacemaker, said Esper.

During his brief visit, Esper also met the Mongolian president to reinforce U.S.-Mongolia share values over maintaining a free and open Asia-Pacific rim. Immediately after his visit to Mongolia, Esper heads for South Korea, the final destination in his first trip to the region.

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