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CHAPTER 9

COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT

In any military unit, combat service support sustains the force during continuous combat operations. In the ICV-equipped infantry platoon, the platoon leader is responsible for planning CSS; the platoon sergeant is the platoon's main CSS operator. The platoon sergeant works closely with the company executive officer and first sergeant to ensure the platoon receives the required support for its assigned mission. CSS responsibilities and procedures in the platoon remain basically the same. The company normally forecasts supplies and "pushes" rather than "pulls" them to the platoon. The platoon and company rely heavily upon their higher headquarters for their CSS needs.

9-1. INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITIES

This paragraph focuses on specific individual responsibilities within the platoon's CSS chain.

a. Platoon Sergeant. As the platoon's main CSS operator, the platoon sergeant executes the platoon's logistical plan based on platoon and company SOPs. The platoon sergeant's CSS duties include:

  • Participating in CSS rehearsals at the company level and integrating CSS into the platoon's maneuver rehearsals.
  • Receiving, consolidating, and forwarding all administrative, personnel, and casualty reports to the first sergeant as directed or IAW unit SOP.
  • Obtaining supplies, equipment (except Class VIII), and mail from the supply sergeant and ensuring proper distribution.
  • Supervising evacuation of casualties, EPWs, and damaged equipment.
  • Maintaining the platoon's manning roster.

b. Squad and Section Leader. Each squad and section leader's CSS duties include:

  • Ensuring that crews perform proper maintenance on all assigned equipment.
  • Compiling personnel and logistics reports for the platoon and submitting them to the platoon sergeant as directed or IAW unit SOP.
  • Obtaining supplies, equipment (all classes), and mail from the platoon sergeant and ensuring proper distribution.

c. Trauma Specialist/Platoon Medic. As stated in Chapter 1, the trauma specialist/platoon medic is attached from the battalion medical platoon. He is attached to the rifle platoon to provide emergency medical treatment (EMT) for sick, injured, or wounded platoon personnel. Emergency medical treatment procedures performed by the trauma specialist may include opening an airway, starting intravenous fluids, controlling hemorrhage, preventing or treating for shock, splinting fractures or suspected fractures, and providing relief for pain. The EMT performed by the trauma specialist is under the supervision of the battalion surgeon or physician's assistant (PA).

The trauma specialist is responsible for--

  • Triaging injured, wounded, or ill friendly and enemy personnel for priority of treatment.
  • Conducting sick call screening for the platoon.
  • Evacuating sick, injured, or wounded personnel under the direction of the platoon sergeant.
  • Assisting in the training of the platoon's combat lifesavers in enhanced first-aid procedures.
  • Requisitioning Class VIII supplies from the BAS for the platoon according to the TSOP.
  • Recommending locations for platoon CCPs.
  • Providing guidance to the platoon's combat lifesavers, as required

9-2. PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS

Planning CSS operations is primarily a company- and battalion-level operation. While the company commander and executive officer plan the operation, the platoon leader is responsible for his platoon's execution of the plan at platoon level, and the platoon sergeant executes the plan at squad and vehicle level.

a. Development of the CSS Plan. The platoon leader develops his CSS plan by determining exactly what he has on hand to accurately predict his support requirements. This process is important not only in confirming the validity of the CSS plan but also in ensuring the platoon submits support requests as early as possible. The platoon leader formulates his CSS execution plan and submits support requests to the company based on his maneuver plan.

b. Operational Questions. The CSS plan should provide answers to operational questions such as the following:

(1) Types of Support. Based on the nature of the operation and specific tactical factors, what types of support will the platoon need?

(2) Quantities. In what quantities will this support be required?

(a) Will emergency resupply be required during the battle?

(b) Does this operation require prestock supplies?

(3) Threat. What are the composition, disposition, and capabilities of the expected enemy threat? How will these affect CSS operations during the battle?

(a) Where and when will the expected contact occur?

(b) What are the platoon's expected casualties and vehicle losses based on the nature and location of expected contact?

(c) What impact will the enemy's special weapons capabilities (such as NBC) have on the battle and on expected CSS requirements?

(d) How many EPWs are expected, and where?

(4) Terrain and Weather. How will terrain and weather affect CSS operations during the battle?

(a) What ground will provide the best security for maintenance and CCPs?

(b) What are the platoon's vehicle and casualty evacuation routes?

(c) What are the company's dirty routes for evacuating contaminated personnel, vehicles, and equipment?

(5) Time and Location. When and where will the platoon need CSS?

(a) Based on the nature and location of expected contact, what are the best sites for the CCP?

(b) Where will the EPW collection points be located?

(6) Requirements. What are the support requirements, by element and type of support?

(a) Which section has priority for emergency Class III resupply?

(b) Which section or squad has priority for emergency Class V resupply?

(7) Risk Factor. Will lulls in the battle permit support elements to conduct resupply operations in relative safety? If no lulls are expected, how can the platoon best minimize the danger to the CSS vehicles providing the required support?

(8) Resupply Technique. Based on information developed during the CSS planning process, which resupply technique should the platoon use?

c. Classes of Supply Considerations. The platoon sergeant obtains supplies and delivers them to the platoon. The platoon leader establishes priorities for delivery, but combat demands that Class I, III, V, and IX supplies and equipment take priority because they are the most critical to successful operations.

(1) Class I. This class includes rations, water, and ice. It also includes gratuitous issue of items related to health, morale, and welfare. The Daily Strength Report triggers an automatic request for Class I supplies. Personnel in the field trains prepare rations and deliver them with the logistics package (LOGPAC). During the initial deployment, soldiers eat meals-ready-to-eat (MREs) stored on combat vehicles. Due to the probability of long lines of communication (LOC) and resupply, the platoon must keep a three-day supply of rations on hand for each soldier at all times.

(2) Class II. This class includes clothing, individual equipment, mission-oriented protective posture (MOPP) suits, tentage, tool sets, and administrative and housekeeping supplies and equipment. The platoon sergeant distributes expendable items such as soap, toilet tissue, and insecticide during LOGPAC operations.

(3) Class III. This class includes POL products. Unusual Class III requests go to the first sergeant and then to the battalion combat trains.

(a) POL includes both bulk and packaged products. Examples of bulk products include JP8 (Army common fuel), diesel fuel, and motor gasoline (MOGAS).

(b) Platoon requests and receives Class III products such as 5-gallon and 55-gallon containers, lubricants, grease, hydraulic fluid, cylinders of liquid and compressed gasses, and solvents in amounts of 55 gallons or less.

(4) Class IV. This class includes construction materials, pickets, sandbags, and concertina wire.

(5) Class V. This class covers all types of ammunition and mines including C4 and other explosives.

(6) Class VI. This class includes personal-demand items normally sold through the exchange system, which can include candy, soaps, cameras, and film.

(7) Class VII. This class includes major end items such as ICVs, MGSs, and other vehicles. Battle loss reports trigger the issuance of Class VII items. Ready-to-fight weapons systems go forward with the LOGPAC.

(8) Class VIII. This class covers medical supplies. The battalion aid station (BAS) replaces combat lifesaver bags and first-aid kits on a one-for-one basis.

(9) Class IX. This class includes repair parts and documents required for equipment maintenance operations. Repair parts are issued in response to a specific request or are obtained by direct exchange of repairable parts. The latter can include batteries for NVDs and man-portable radios. In combat situations, exchange and cannibalization are normal ways to obtain Class IX items.

(10) Class X. This class includes materials to support nonmilitary programs such as agricultural and economic development. Division level or higher will provide the platoon with instructions for requesting and issuing Class X supplies.

(11) Miscellaneous. This category covers anything that does not fall in one of the existing classes of supply.

9-3. RESUPPLY OPERATIONS

Resupply operations fall into one of three classifications: routine, emergency, or prestock. The platoon SOP specifies cues and procedures for each method. The platoon rehearses resupply operations during platoon training exercises. The actual method selected for resupply in the field depends on METT-TC factors.

a. Routine Resupply. Routine resupply operations cover items in Classes I, III, V, and IX; mail; and other items requested by the platoon. When possible, the platoon should conduct routine resupply daily. Ideally, it does so during periods of limited visibility. Although the ICV is designed to operate over extended periods of time (72 hours) without Class III resupply, the platoon leader should refuel at every opportunity available, based upon the factors of METT-TC.

(1) The LOGPAC technique offers a simple, efficient way to accomplish routine resupply operations. The key feature of LOGPAC, a centrally organized resupply convoy, originates at the battalion trains. The convoy carries all items needed to sustain the platoon for a specific period (usually 24 hours) or until the next scheduled LOGPAC. The battalion SOP will specify the LOGPAC's exact composition and march order.

(2) As directed by the commander or XO, the first sergeant establishes the company resupply point. He uses either the service station or tailgate method, and he briefs each LOGPAC driver on which method to use. When he has the resupply point ready, the first sergeant informs the commander. The company commander then directs each platoon or element to conduct resupply based on the tactical situation.

(a) The service station method that may be used during mounted operations (Figure 9-1) allows the vehicles and their squads to move individually, or by section, to a centrally located resupply point. Depending on the tactical situation, a vehicle, section, or platoon moves out of its position, conducts resupply operations, and moves back into position. This process continues until the entire platoon has received its supplies. In using this method, vehicles enter the resupply point following a one-way traffic flow. Only vehicles that require immediate maintenance stop at the maintenance holding area. Vehicles move through each supply location. The crews rotate individually to eat, pick up mail and sundries, and refill or exchange water cans. When all platoon vehicles and crews have completed resupply, they move to a holding area. There, time permitting, the platoon leader and the platoon sergeant conduct a PCI.

Figure 9-1. Mounted service station resupply method.

Figure 9-1. Mounted service station resupply method.

(b) The service station resupply method (Figure 9-2) for use during dismounted operations requires the soldiers to leave their fighting positions. Selected soldiers move to a company resupply point to the rear of the platoon position, conduct resupply, and return to their fighting position. This technique is used when contact is not likely and for the resupply of one or several classes of supplies.

Figure 9-2. Dismounted service station resupply method.

Figure 9-2. Dismounted service station resupply method.

NOTE: The platoon order should state the sequence for moving squads or portions of squads out of position. Companies may vary the technique by establishing a resupply point for each platoon and moving the supplies to that point.

(c) In assembly areas, the first sergeant normally uses the tailgate method (Figure 9-3). Combat vehicles remain in their vehicle positions, or they back out a short distance to allow trucks carrying Class III and V supplies to reach them. Individual soldiers rotate through the feeding area. While there, they pick up mail and sundries and refill or exchange water cans. They centralize and guard any EPW. They take soldiers killed in action (KIA) and their personal effects to the holding area, where the first sergeant assumes responsibility for them.

Figure 9-3. Tailgate resupply method.

Figure 9-3. Tailgate resupply method.

(d) During operations when the platoon is separated from its vehicles and in contact, or when contact is imminent, the in-position resupply method may be required to ensure adequate supplies are available to the squads. This method requires the company to bring forward supplies or equipment (or both) to individual fighting positions (Figure 9-4). The platoon normally will provide a guide to ensure the supplies (Class V) are distributed to the most critical position first. This method--

  • Is used when an immediate need exits.
  • Is used to resupply single classes of supply.
  • Enables leaders to keep squad members in their fighting positions.

Figure 9-4. Dismounted in-position method.

Figure 9-4. Dismounted in-position method.

NOTE: If resupply vehicles cannot move near platoon positions, platoon members may need to help the resupply personnel move supplies and equipment forward.

b. Emergency Resupply. Occasionally (normally during combat operations), the platoon might have such an urgent need for resupply that it cannot wait for a routine LOGPAC. Emergency resupply could involve NBC equipment as well as Classes III, V, VIII, and water.

c. Prestock Resupply. In defensive operations and at some other times, as appropriate, the platoon most likely will need prestocked supplies, also known as pre-positioned or "cached" resupply. Normally, the platoon only pre-positions Class IV and V items, but they also can pre-position Class III supplies. However, they must refuel platoon vehicles before they move into fighting positions, while first occupying the BP, or while moving out of their fighting position.

(1) All levels must carefully plan and execute prestock operations. All leaders, down to vehicle commanders and squad leaders, must know the exact locations of prestock sites. They verify these locations during reconnaissance or rehearsals. The platoon takes steps to ensure the survivability of the prestocked supplies. These measures include selecting covered and concealed positions and digging-in the prestock positions. The platoon leader must have a removal and destruction plan to prevent the enemy from capturing pre-positioned supplies.

(2) During offensive operations, the platoon can pre-position supplies on trucks or ICVs well forward on the battlefield. This works well if the platoon expects to use a large volume of fire, with corresponding ammunition requirements, during a fast-moving operation.

9-4. SOLDIER'S LOAD

The soldier's load is a main concern of the leader. How much is carried, how far, and in what configuration are important mission considerations. Leaders must learn to prepare for the most likely contingencies based on available information--they cannot be prepared for all possible operations. See FM 7-12 for detailed discussions on load planning, calculating, and management techniques used to assist leaders and soldiers in organizing tactical loads to ensure safety and combat effectiveness.

9-5. COMBAT LOAD AND BASIC LOAD

The platoon's combat load varies by mission and includes the supplies physically carried into the fight. The company commander directs some minimum requirements for the combat load. The unit SOP or the platoon leader specifies most items. The basic load includes supplies kept by the platoon for use in combat. The quantity of most basic load supply items depends on how many days in combat the platoon might have to sustain itself without resupply. For Class V ammunition, the higher commander or SOP specifies the platoon's basic load

9-6. MAINTENANCE

Proper maintenance is the key to keeping vehicles, equipment, and other materials in serviceable condition. It is a continuous process starting with preventive measures taken by each vehicle crew and continuing through repair and recovery efforts by higher-level maintenance personnel. Maintenance services include inspecting, testing, servicing, repairing, requisitioning, recovering, and evacuating vehicles and equipment.

9-7. EVACUATION PROCEDURES

When combat begins and casualties occur, the platoon first must provide initial care to those wounded in action (WIA). This is accomplished through the administration of first aid (self-aid/buddy aid), enhanced first aid (by the combat lifesaver), and EMT (by the trauma specialist/platoon medic). Vehicle commanders and squad leaders arrange for evacuation of WIAs to the CCP. The platoon normally sets up the CCP in a covered and concealed location to the rear of the platoon position. At the CCP, the platoon medic conducts triage on all casualties, takes steps to stabilize their condition, and starts the process of moving them to the rear for more treatment.

NOTE: Before the platoon evacuates casualties to the CCP or beyond, leaders should remove all key operational items and equipment from their persons. This includes SOI, maps, position-locating devices, and laser pointers. Every unit should establish an SOP for handling the weapons and ammunition of its WIA.

9-8. KILLED IN ACTION

The platoon leader designates a location for the collection of KIAs. All personal effects remain with the body, but the vehicle commander removes and safeguards any equipment and issue items. He keeps these until he can turn the equipment and issue items over to the platoon sergeant. The platoon sergeant turns over the KIA to the first sergeant. As a rule, the platoon should not transport KIA remains on the same vehicle as wounded soldiers.

9-9. ENEMY PRISONERS OF WAR

EPWs and captured enemy equipment and materiel often provide excellent combat information and intelligence. This information is of tactical value only if the platoon processes and evacuates prisoners and materiel to the rear quickly.

a. In any tactical situation, the platoon will have specific procedures and guidelines for handling prisoners and captured material.

(1) The five-"S" procedure reminds soldiers about the basic principles for handling EPWs, which include tagging prisoners and all captured equipment and materiel:

  • Search.
  • Segregate.
  • Silence.
  • Speed.
  • Safeguard.

(2) In addition to initial processing, the capturing element provides guards and transportation to move prisoners to the designated EPW collection points. The capturing element normally carries prisoners on vehicles already heading toward the rear, such as tactical vehicles returning from LOGPAC operations. The capturing element must also feed, provide medical treatment, and safeguard EPWs until they reach the collection point.

(3) Once the EPWs arrive at the collection point, the platoon sergeant assumes responsibility for them. He provides for security and transports them to the company EPW collection point. He uses available personnel as guards, to include the walking wounded or soldiers moving to the rear for reassignment.

9-10. AERIAL SUSTAINMENT

Aerial sustainment is an aviation mission that consists of moving personnel, equipment, materiel, and supplies by utility, cargo, and fixed-wing assets for use in operations other than air assault or combat support. Overland resupply might not work, due to terrain or the existing enemy threat. The platoon must initiate a request for resupply and must push it through company to battalion. The platoon must prepare to receive the supplies at the specified time and location.

9-11. CASUALTY EVACUATION

Casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) is the term used to refer to the movement of casualties by air or ground on nonmedical vehicles or aircraft. CASEVAC operations normally involve the initial movement of wounded or injured soldiers to the nearest medical treatment facility. Casualty evacuation operations may also be employed in support of mass casualty operations. Medical evacuation includes the provision of en route medical care, whereas CASEVAC does not provide any medical care during movement. For definitive information on CASEVAC, see FM 8-10-6 and FM 8-10-26.



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