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Field Manual (FM) 21-16/Fleet Marine Force Manual (FMFM) 13-8-1 prescribes the doctrine for dealing with the unexploded ordnance (UXO) hazards on the battlefield. Use the information in this manual to teach military personnel, Department of Defense (DOD) civilians, and contractors about the UXO hazards they could meet and the procedures they can use to protect themselves. This manual also gives guidance on how to get help to take care of the hazards that affect mission capabilities.

When personnel find UXO, they must follow these steps:

  • Recognize the UXO hazard.

  • Take immediate action (mark and evacuate).

  • Report the UXO hazard.

  • Use protective measures against the UXO hazard, if required.

Based on these steps, FM 21-16/FMFM 13-8-1 serves as a general guideline for including UXO hazard procedures in unit standing operating procedures (SOPs). This manual provides information for transmitting and monitoring UXO reports throughout any battlefield functional area (BFA).


UXO on the battlefield affects the mobility and mission aspects of all units. Battlefields are littered with UXO hazards from two sources: ordnance that has either failed to function or ordnance designed to be used for area denial, such as conventional land mines and the family of scatterable mines (FASCAM). With the sophistication of modern weapons systems, battlefield commanders can target anything within their theater of operations. After these attacks are completed, UXO hazards will probably be left on the battlefield.

UXO hazards may not always pose an immediate threat to unit mission or mobility, but they are hazards that have in the past caused needless loss of life and materiel. Battlefield commanders need to know where UXO hazards are, as these hazards can affect the mobility of follow-on elements. This manual teaches personnel about the UXO hazard and how this hazard affects mission capabilities and what procedures are used to report and protect personnel and equipment. All units should be able to react to the UXO hazard effectively and to report and protect against it.

During mission planning, leaders must coordinate with supporting artillery and supporting air liaison personnel to find out what areas are expected to contain large numbers of UXO. These areas should be avoided if possible. This type of planning makes a unit more mission capable.

There are two types of UXO threats on the battlefield: passive (UXO that is found during unit movement) and active (UXO that results from an attack). All units must be able to react to both of these types of threats in order to survive on the modern battlefield. Chapter 5 of this manual covers procedures for reacting to these threats. Additional information may also be found in FM 20-32, Chapter 11.

All military personnel and certain DOD civilians and contractors risk injury or death from UXO. Therefore, all of these personnel need to understand how to identify, report, mark and, if necessary, apply protective measures against UXO. This manual was designed to be used by all of these personnel. All users of this manual are referred to as personnel in the text.

This manual implements the following international standardization agreements (STANAGs):

  • STANAG 2002 (Edition 7). Marking of Contaminated or Dangerous Land Areas, Complete Equipment, Supplies, and Stores. See Chapter 3.

  • STANAG 2143 (Edition 4). Explosive Ordnance Reconnaissance/Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOR/EOD).


For training to be effective, users of this manual must adopt the procedures outlined into their combat training and unit SOPs. UXO training can be conducted concurrently with all common and collective training. It can be incorporated into training in the same way as nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) training. Using the full-scale training aid package listed below, training can be conducted during land navigation, road marches, defensive/offensive operations, or force-on-force training. Preparation time is minimal; just place the training items where personnel will encounter them during normal training operations.

Evaluation of the training will depend on current mission and unit SOPs. The three most important points for the trainee to remember are the following:

  • If possible, avoid the item and continue the mission.

  • If avoidance is not possible, take protective measures to reduce the hazard to personnel and equipment.

  • And, regardless of the action you take, report the hazard through command channels.


The following training items are available at your local training aids support center (TASC) for you to use in your unit's UXO training program:

This manual is the reference for the following soldier training publication (STP) common tasks:

  • STP 21-1-SMCT (new edition to be published in FY 94), Identify UXO Hazards, task number 093-403-5000.

  • STP 21-24-SMCT:

    -Recognize Military Ordnance by Type, task number 093-403-5010.

    -Take Immediate Action Based on Confirmation of an Explosive Hazard, task
      number 093-403-5020.

    -Report Explosive Hazard, task number 093-403-5030.

Any reference made in this manual to the former Soviet Union, or to Soviet-style ordnance, refers to the type of ordnance that was produced and distributed by the Soviet-block countries. This type of ordnance is still found stockpiled and is being sold throughout the world. United States (US) forces will find this type of ordnance on future battlefields.

While personnel are not expected to determine ordnance fillers, the color codes on the ordnance (Soviet-style and US) help to identify the types of UXOs. See Appendix A.

The proponent of this publication is Headquarters, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (HQ TRADOC). Send comments and recommendations on DA Form 2028 to Commandant, United States Army Ordnance Missile and Munitions Center and School, Attention: ATSK-CCD, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama 35897-6500.

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