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Pathfinder leaders can use the operational formats described in this appendix to plan and carry out pathfinder operations. These formats are intended as guides and should be modified as required.


The pathfinder leader uses the operation-planning format shown in Figure A-1 to organize an operation. This format consolidates information about each person or element. The leader can refer to this information during his planning and briefing. This format provides columns for writing in—

Figure A-1. Example format for operation plan.

Figure A-1. Example format for operation plan.

a. ACFT NO. Write in either the chalk number or the last three digits of the number painted on the tail of the aircraft that will transport the pathfinder.

b. NAME. Write in the name of each pathfinder.

c. LOAD TIME. Write in what time the pathfinder must be on the aircraft with all of his equipment.

d. TO TIME. Write in what time the aircraft will depart the staging area (the takeoff time).

e. DUTY AND LOCATION. Write in each pathfinder's mission assignment and location within the operational area.

f. CALL SIGN AND FREQUENCY. Write in the radio call sign and frequency for each person operating a radio.

g. EQUIPMENT. List all equipment, other than individual equipment, that each pathfinder element will carry.

h. REMARKS. Write in any other pertinent information.


The leader can make up an LZ/DZ Control Record based on the example format shown in Figure A-2 to keep a record of aircraft arrivals, departures, and load types. This record provides information for both ground and aviation commanders. It helps account for personnel and equipment. It can also help leaders initiate or conduct search-and-rescue operations for overdue or downed aircraft. The pathfinder internal radio net(work) operator, located at the control center, normally maintains this record.

Figure A-2. Example formats for the LZ/DZ control record.

Figure A-2. Example formats for the LZ/DZ control record.

a. Format Headings.

(1) PATHFINDER UNIT. Enter the pathfinder unit's code or number designation.

(2) SUPPORTED UNIT. Enter the name of the main ground or aviation unit.

(3) PERIOD. Enter the date and time the operation will start and finish. Enter 0001 for the start time of a succeeding day. Enter 2400 for the end time if the operation will continue the next day.

(4) OPERATION (AFLD LZ, DZ) . Enter the name or number of the operation. Cross out items that do not apply. Add any special designation used.

(5) RECORDER. Enter the name of the person who records data on this form.

b. Column Headings.

(1) FLT OR ACFT NO. This means "flight or aircraft number," so enter the flight or aircraft's radio call sign.

(2) TYPE ACFT. This means "type aircraft," so enter the Army or Air Force aircraft model designation.

(3) TIME COMM ESTAB. This means "time communication established," so enter what time the aircraft acknowledges contact (radio, visual, or both, as applicable).

(4) TIME (ARR, DPRT). Enter the time the aircraft arrives or when the first of the flight lands. Enter the aircraft's departure time, or the time the last of the flight clears the ground.

(5) TYPE LOAD (DELIVERED, EVAC). Enter what type of load the aircraft delivered (supplies, equipment, or personnel) or evacuated (supplies, equipment, or personnel).


From the moment he receives an order to conduct a pathfinder operation, the pathfinder leader does his best to use the following troop-leading procedures:

a. Section Warning Order. Issue a section warning order, including—

(1) Roll call.

(2) A brief statement of the enemy and friendly situations.

(3) The mission.

(4) Chain of command and section structure.

(5) Individual uniform and equipment (if not in SOP).

(6) Equipment required.

(7) Time schedule to complete work priorities (state who must show up, and where and when they must show up).

(8) Specific instructions and attached personnel.

(9) Time hack.

b. Tentative Plan. Make tentative plan of operation.

(1) Study the map.

(2) Check the weather.

(3) Study the unit SOP.

(4) Make a quick estimate of the situation. Will you need extra personnel from the supported unit, other equipment or materiel, or additional communications resources?

(5) Begin planning.

c. Movement and Coordination. Arrange for movement and coordination.

(1) Arrange to move unit and inform second in command.

(2) Coordinate with ground and aviation units. Cover the ground tactical plan, the landing and unloading plan, the air movement plan, and the loading plan. Arrange for any extra people or equipment needed from the supported unit.

d. Tentative Operation Plan. Prepare a tentative operation plan.

(1) Reconnoiter when time permits (map, ground, air).

(2) Continue the estimate and receive recommendations.

(3) Complete the plan (work out details, formulate orders). Present the tentative plan to the supported unit commander or his staff. Prepare the final plan based on the desires of supported unit commander and on his final order.

(4) Issue section order (normally an oral order).

(5) Join supported unit.

(6) Rehearse and inspect (if time and terrain permit).

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