Combat service support is the support provided to sustain combat forces, primarily in administrative and logistics. It includes administrative services, chaplain services, civil affairs, food service, finance, legal services, and medical services. It also includes maintenance, supply, and transportation. This chapter focuses on CSS planning considerations for utility and cargo helicopter units.


Combat operations planning and CSS planning must be done in conjunction with operational planning, so that the CSS plan supports the operational plan. Successful utility helicopter unit operations require timely reports that reflect the unit's CSS status. The aviation brigade supporting the utility and cargo helicopter unit is employed without an FSB; therefore, tactical and CSS planning must include aviation unit support packages throughout the division's AO. The aviation brigade in the heavy division does have an ASB. This battalion provides GS maintenance for ground systems, aviation intermediate maintenance, and supply and transport activities. It does not provide a level II medical facility like the FSB. The DISCOM must be prepared to provide support to the utility helicopter unit.


Fuel (class IIIA) is a critical commodity for all utility helicopter unit operations. Unit aircraft consume large quantities of fuel during each mission. To ensure a continuous unit readiness posture, the unit's logistics planners must accurately plan for and constantly monitor fuel consumption.

    a. Requesting Fuel Supplies. The unit initiates periodic status reports on bulk POL products. These reports are processed through the aviation brigade S4 who consolidates user needs and coordinates delivery through the DMMC. When possible, corps tanker assets will direct bulk aviation fuel to the utility and cargo helicopter units or to the closest support battalion fuel distribution point. If an emergency fuel shortage arises, organic unit tankers, or aircraft, can go to the division airfield where the MSB maintains aviation fuel. Corps cargo and utility aircraft may also be available for limited aerial resupply fuel from corps sources.

    b. Calculating Requirements.

      (1) Fuel requirements are based on both daily and mission needs. Daily needs are figured by multiplying the estimated daily hours each aircraft will fly by the consumption rate of that particular aircraft. That total is multiplied by the total number of aircraft in the unit.

      (2) The consolidated fuel total of unit aircraft is the daily fuel quantity that must be requisitioned. Mission needs are figured by applying the same formula used to calculate daily needs, except that mission-available aircraft totals are used instead of organic totals, and mission hours are substituted for daily hours. Considered the fuel that is in aircraft tanks when the mission begins, fuel totals derived may be adjusted. This gives the true amount of fuel the FARP requires to support a given mission. Table 10-1 shows fuel consumption rates used in calculating daily and mission needs of an AHB. For example, the mission is expected to last 5 hours. There are 10 UH-60s available to participate. The minimum fuel required for the mission is calculated as follows: 5 hours x 145 gph x 10 UH-60s = 7,250 gallons. Assuming all aircraft are full of fuel at the start, equaling 10 x 362 gallons or 3,620 gallons, then 7,250 minus 3,620, or 3,630 gallons will need to be provided.

Table 10-1. Aircraft fuel consumption rates




Fuel Consumption (gph)







Legend: See the glossary for acronyms and abbreviations.

NOTE: Fuel consumption rates are approximate. Actual rates will be based on missions, environmental conditions and aircraft factors. The S4 and the POL platoon leader must coordinate with the S3 and the units to determine average fuel consumption rates for the theater and the conditions in which they are operating.

      (3) Accurate fuel planning requires continuous coordination between the S3, S4, and the POL platoon leader. The S4 must be integrated into operational planning so that sufficient fuel can be requested, and available, for the mission.


The utility and cargo helicopter unit has an organic unit maintenance element. However, the large number of aircraft, ground vehicles, and other critical pieces of equipment necessitates additional maintenance assistance from outside the unit (DS, GS, depot support) to sustain operations. The MAC in the equipment manual assigns the maintenance functions. It explains at what maintenance level particular tasks are performed. The MAC must always be referred to before a maintenance task is started. Maintenance functions include inspecting, testing, servicing, repairing, requisitioning, rebuilding, recovering, and evacuating equipment. Repair and recovery are accomplished as far forward as possible, and at the lowest capable level. When equipment cannot be repaired on site, it is moved only as far to the rear as necessary for repair. This concept insures timely repairs and keeps the maximum amount of equipment operational. The utility and cargo helicopter unit uses the principles of flexible unit structure, direct support, and general support to implement this concept. The key to maintenance management is sound planning and establishing a disciplined maintenance management system to ensure that equipment remains operational. Additionally, the flow of DA Forms 2404 must be planned with an established maintenance tracking system developed and adhered to.

    a. Ground Maintenance.

      (1) Unit maintenance. Unit maintenance is performed by organizational maintenance personnel, vehicle or equipment operators, and crews. Unit maintenance includes scheduled and unscheduled unit maintenance repair and PMCS, which are performed according to the PMCS table in the equipment manual. The table specifies when, and under what condition, each preventive maintenance check and service is performed. Generally, the operator and/or crew, or the using unit, is primarily responsible for performing PMCS. The purpose of PMCS is to improve the operational readiness of equipment through preventive maintenance and early diagnosis of problems.

      (2) Direct support maintenance. DS maintenance units provide one-stop maintenance services for the supported units. They provide extensive maintenance support to the assault helicopter unit, including component repair and repair parts supply support. DS maintenance units at the division level are located in the ASB and the FSB, located in the BSA.

      (3) General support maintenance. A GS maintenance unit is characterized by an extensive component repair capability. It supports the supply system within the theater by repairing damaged systems for issue through the supply system as class II, VII or IX items. This level of maintenance is normally found at division and higher. The DISCOM contains a GS maintenance company that is located in the DSA.

      (4) Depot maintenance. Army Materiel Command depots or activities, contractors, and host nation support personnel perform depot maintenance to support the supply system. Depot tasks are outlined in AR 750-1. These tasks must also be outlined in a memorandum of understanding when they are performed in the theater of operations. Depot maintenance is production-line oriented and is performed in fixed facilities in CONUS and the theater of operations. Repair parts supply for depot maintenance is limited to items that are needed to support assigned maintenance missions.

    b. Aviation Maintenance. Aviation maintenance operations continue around the clock. The governing concept is to "replace forward, repair rear," to enable the utility helicopter unit to return aircraft to the battle rapidly. Damaged or inoperable aircraft that require time-consuming repairs are handled in more secure areas toward the rear. TM 1-1500-204-23-1 outlines general aircraft maintenance procedures. DA Pamphlet 738-751 contains detailed information on the Army maintenance management system.

      (1) Aviation maintenance. Aviation maintenance functions are divided into two categories--scheduled and unscheduled.

        (a) Scheduled maintenance. The critical aspect here is the continuous coordination and involvement between unit operations and unit maintenance to accomplish the scheduled maintenance, while also accomplishing the unit's mission. This cooperative effort requires a daily exchange of information to reveal the continuously changing situation that exists in any utility and cargo helicopter unit. Scheduled maintenance includes predetermined cyclic inspections of aircraft systems and component replacement. These events are scheduled either on a calendar or flying-hour basis.

        (b) Unscheduled maintenance. Unscheduled maintenance is required when an aircraft system, or component, malfunctions or fails unexpectedly. It is also required to correct damage incurred as a result of improper operation or battlefield activity. Because unscheduled maintenance cannot be predicted, units are doctrinally and organizationally prepared to make unscheduled repairs as needed.

      (2) Aviation support system structure. The support system comprises a three-level structure--AVUM, avim, and depot maintenance. Depot maintenance is coordinated at the AVIM level or higher and is discussed in FM 1-500. Specific organizational structures vary somewhat, depending on whether they are in a division (light or heavy) or corps. However, the basic concepts of aircraft maintenance discussed below are generally applicable in all organizations.

        (a) Aviation unit maintenance. All operational aviation units are responsible for AVUM. The objective of unit maintenance operations is to ensure that the maximum number of fully mission-capable aircraft is available to the battlefield commander. The general concept is for crew chiefs assigned to specific aircraft to perform daily servicing and inspections, while also performing normal repairs involving simple parts exchange. Scheduled maintenance, other than daily inspections and the more time-consuming operator-level repairs, is normally done by the AVUM platoon or company. The AVUM platoon/company must be prepared to accept aircraft from the battle area for immediate repair or to make on-site repairs. These on-site repairs are completed by contact teams. The AVUM platoon/company recommends whether the aircraft should be repaired on-site, or evacuated to the rear. If the repairs are minor and require no specialized skills, only repair parts are brought forward. Repair time is a major factor in determining whether evacuation is necessary, as maintenance support teams may be able to make on-site repairs faster than the aircraft can be evacuated. The bulk of the platoon/company mission is scheduled maintenance, component repair, repair part requisition and storage, and major unscheduled repair. The AVUM technician maintains close contact with the forward element of the platoon/company to ensure that the maintenance status of the unit aircraft is coordinated and accurately communicated. The platoon/company must maintain the highest degree of mobility and coordinate continuous AVIM support, when needed. Shortage of repair parts may require the utility and cargo helicopter unit commander to use battle-damaged, or unserviceable, aircraft as a source for repair parts during combat operations. The intensity of combat, need for operational aircraft, and availability of the repair parts through the supply system will dictate the extent that operational substitution is necessary.

        (b) Aviation intermediate maintenance. AVIM will provide intermediate level maintenance for AVUM and operating organizations. AVIM serves as the connection between AVUM and depot(s) located away from the battlefield. The goal of the AVIM is the same as that of the AVUM; to provide the battlefield commander with the maximum number of fully mission-capable aircraft.

      (3) Additional maintenance considerations.

        (a) Night operations. Army operational doctrine demands around-the-clock operations. This requires a fully productive, continuously running maintenance capability. Working on aircraft and vehicles day and night dramatically shortens repair time and maximizes the number of mission capable aircraft. This around-the-clock maintenance capability ensures that aircraft can be used on successive days, or nights, by completing the required maintenance during those alternate hours. Flexibility is key to a successful operation. The closer to the FLOT a unit operates, the more restrictive noise and light discipline becomes. This is a factor in determining whether an aircraft is repaired on-site or evacuated to a more secure area. The terrain that exists in the AO is also a factor in night operations. For example, night operations in a desert environment can be detected from a far greater distance than those in a wooded environment. A single overall concept for night maintenance operations is not feasible and requires each organization to establish and alter its plan according to environmental conditions and changes in the threat. Successful mission completion must also include human factors, such as crew endurance criteria for maintenance personnel, which should be included in the ompany's tactical SOP. In short, night operations must be thoughtfully planned and carefully considered, so as to complete the mission, while avoiding enemy detection.

        (b) Environment conditions. Aircraft maintenance operations must be carefully planned to permit completion in any environment, including the desert, jungle, mountains, or extreme cold climate. FM 1-500 lists the special considerations for aircraft operating in such environments. Finally, commanders must also consider the--

    • Communication restrictions.
    • Special shelter requirements.
    • Specialized equipment and clothing requirements.
    • Mobility and transportation requirements.
    • Physiological effects of the environment on all personnel.
    • Increased stockage levels of filters, bearings, and seals necessary for operation in the harshness of any environment with an unusual amount of wind and sand.

    c. Ground Vehicle And Equipment Recovery. The goal of this operation is the timely return of equipment to operational status with the least expenditure of resources. This will require careful coordination of all parties. Recovery operations are normally conducted according to certain general principles. These principles are discussed below.

      (1) Initiating the recovery. This action begins where, and when, the item becomes disabled. When the operator detects an inoperable condition, he must assess the damage or problem and initiate action based on his assessment and the tactical situation. Using the unit SOP, he then informs the chain of command, considering all factors such as communication ability, his location, and the location and availability of recovery equipment and personnel.

      (2) Self-recovery. The utility and cargo helicopter unit is responsible for the recovery of its disabled equipment. When the unit lacks the physical means to recover an item, it requests assistance from the supporting maintenance element.

      (3) Task organizing. The commander organizes recovery resources to best support the unit's mission. The type and quantity of supported equipment, as well as the tactical situation, may require the reorganization of recovery assets.

      (4) Maintenance. Recovery operations are coordinated with the maintenance effort. Maintenance personnel repair equipment as far forward as the tactical situation, the amount of damage sustained, and the availability of resources will allow. The maintenance time required to repair the equipment aids in determining the method of recovery or repair and the maintenance activity level to which the equipment is to be returned.

      (5) Recovery equipment. The proper recovery equipment must be employed to perform the recovery. Wreckers are normally used to recover wheeled vehicles. Selection of the proper equipment becomes critical as the work load increases.

      (6) Fix forward concept. Recovery vehicles do not return vehicles farther to the rear than is absolutely necessary. Usually, equipment is recovered to the supporting maintenance collection point. This concept maximizes availability of the maintenance recovery equipment and ensures the most timely return of the damaged equipment to the owning unit.

      (7) Ground guides. Accurate location information is provided to the recovery manager and crews. Ground guides may be required when specific location information is not available, or when the tactical situation is not well defined.

      (8) Multiple vehicle recovery. Multiple recovery involves towing more than one disabled vehicle at a time. Careful route selection is critical to ensure the safe recovery operation, such as avoiding steep grades that would exceed the braking capability of the tow vehicle or unusually sharp corners that would impede the recovery.

      (9) Recovery prioritizing. With limited recovery vehicles, the commander must establish the priority sequence according to the tactical situation and the subsequent need for any item. Usually, combat vehicles are recovered before a tactical vehicle. A list, in descending order, follows: the first items should be classified items, followed by items that require minimal repair time, then items requiring long recovery or repair times, finally recovering contaminated items as well as those requiring repair that is uneconomical or enemy equipment.

    d. Aircraft Recovery. Combat operations result in a greater demand for operational aircraft and a large increase in the number of flying hours. These increased requirements will be complicated by higher attrition and battle-damage rates, which create shortages of repair parts and replacement aircraft. To offset these shortages and to maintain an effective combat aviation force, the rapid recovery and repair of aircraft is essential.

      (1) Aircraft recovery responsibility. The owning unit is responsible for aircraft recovery. The unit must coordinate the recovery effort with the units involved, specifically the AVIM and the AVUM. The operation also must be coordinated with any organization that may provide aircraft or vehicle assets necessary for the recovery, such as the CH-47 company.

      (2) Aircraft recovery team. The AVIM provides the key members of the recovery team. The team includes personnel who are trained and approved to rig the aircraft for air transport. They also advise the recovering aircraft flight crew on the details of the flight, such as maximum airspeed, load configuration, tandem or single hook load. The AVIM will also provide the necessary equipment, including sling kits and the appropriate FMs, for the recovery. This role of the AVIM cannot be overstated, if the inoperable aircraft is to be successfully recovered with no further damage. The AVUM can assist in this effort, but the critical expertise belongs to the AVIM. Each team usually includes this AVIM slingload expert, an aircraft maintenance officer, a forward repair and recovery team chief, a technical inspector, and any additional personnel deemed necessary to assist.

      (3) Options. The maintenance and recovery team must consider several factors in determining the best course of action, including the location of the damaged aircraft, the tactical situation, and the time available for the recovery effort. The team may decide to defer further maintenance, effect minimal repairs, and fly the aircraft to the rear. They might also decide to rig the aircraft for air transport by sling loading, or they may decide to selectively cannibalize the aircraft, destroy and abandon it according to SOPs and/or approving authorities.


Personnel assigned to the PAC, battalion aid stations, and the UMT perform personnel service support functions. Those companies designed as "stand alone" companies (heavy helicopter company and light utility company) have clerks at the company level that are equipped to conduct these functions. Personnel services support functions fall into three general categories--combat critical, health service support, and sustainment. The combat critical and health service support functions must happen regardless of combat intensity, whereas the sustainment functions can be curtailed, suspended, or postponed during the intense periods.

    a. Combat Critical. These functions will have priority not only during combat, but also preparation for combat. They include the following:

      (1) Personnel accounting and strength reporting. This includes updating the unit battle roster, based on duty positions for the unit TOE, and preparing and forwarding the personnel status roster. The personnel status roster is submitted daily and after significant changes in unit strength.

      (2) Processing replacements. These actions include assigning replacements based on critical leadership assignment. They also include performing administrative and personnel actions such as inprocessing personnel, preparing SIDPERS transactions, updating battle rosters, and briefing replacements on the tactical situation and unit SOPs. Battalion and brigade S-1s should have developed a detailed SOP for inprocessing replacements.

      (3) Casualty reporting. These actions include reviewing casualty feeder reports and witness statements for completeness and accuracy, checking the battalion aid station casualty treatment log to ensure all casualties have been reported, and forwarding the casualty report.

      (4) Media operations. This should include briefing all soldiers on communicating with the media, including legalities, permitted topics, and those items of information that cannot be discussed. In this age of communication, media operations must have a priority, so as to not jeopardize the mission.

    b. Health Service Support. These functions also have priority during combat and preparation for combat. They include the following:

      (1) Unit level health service support personnel have the primary mission of preventing illness, providing emergency and routine medical treatment, and medically evacuating the sick, injured, and wounded. Medical personnel are responsible for supervising the training of first aid, buddy aid, and combat lifesaver skills. Additionally, medical personnel provide assistance in preventive medicine measures, such as field sanitation and personal hygiene. Limited health support services resources in the unit require additional personnel be trained in combat lifesaver skills to assist medical personnel in the initial treatment of casualties.

      (2) Medical aid personnel assigned to the HHC medical treatment squad/section accompany FARP personnel when they move forward. One medical aid person should be stationed at each FARP location. The flight surgeon or physician's assistant assigned to the aviation battalion should accompany treatment teams that move forward.

      (3) Provisions for a S-1 must be included in the planning process. The S-1 should consider the following: the estimated casualty work load, the augmentation of medical personnel, preplanned patient collecting points and ambulance exchange points, and the augmentation of medical evacuation resources by corps level evacuation assets.

    c. Personnel Services. These support actions may be curtailed, suspended, or postponed during intense periods of combat. These actions include evaluation reports, SIDPERs transactions, awards and decorations, and promotions or reductions. They also include the following:

      (1) Finance services. The degree of financial services varies with the tactical situation. In mid- and high-intensity conflicts, regularly established paydays are suspended in the theater of operations.

      (2) Postal services. The corps direct support postal unit provides postal services for the utility and cargo helicopter units assigned.

      (3) Religious support. Comprehensive religious support is provided by the unit ministry team of the aviation battalion. Support provided by this team includes the normal religious services. The team's mission provides pastoral care in nurturing the living, caring for casualties, and honoring the dead. The team should also advise the command on moral, ethical, and religious issues affecting the unit's mission. Religious support is covered in FM 16-1.

      (4) Legal services. These actions include processing UCMJ actions, etc. They also include processing Article 32 and 15-6 investigations, assembling investigation reports, and witness statements.

      (5) Morale and welfare services. These activities include determining the needs and interests of the soldiers, obtaining support from agencies, and obtaining recreation related supplies. Also, equal opportunity counseling and drug and alcohol counseling are included.

      (6) Public affairs services. This will include disseminating information and published material received from higher headquarters. It also includes implementing a hometown news release program.


    a. Basic Load. This is the quantity of ammunition authorized by the theater commander for wartime purposes and required to be designated for, and carried into, by a unit. The basic load provides the unit with enough ammunition to sustain itself in combat, until the unit can be resupplied. Ammunition basic load quantities will not exceed quantities the unit is capable of moving into combat in the first lift using organic transportation and equipment.

    b. Ammunition Requests. Ammunition is normally requested by the battalion S-4 on a DA Form 581.

    c. Ammunition Transfer Point. At the Division, all FSBs can run one ATP. These ATPs are located in the BSA and contain ammunition to support all the division units operating in the brigade area.

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