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Chapter 7

Combat Service Support

This chapter primarily deals with CSS to engineer recon teams conducting obstacle recon. Recon teams conducting more traditional missions such as zone, route, area, or technical recons will conduct CSS operations similar to those discussed in FMs 5-71-2 and 5-71-3.
CSS elements arm, fuel, fix, feed, clothe, and provide transportation and personnel for the recon team. The recon team leader is responsible for supervising CSS within the team. The assistant team leader is the team's CSS operator, as the first sergeant (1SG) is for a company. The assistant team leader advises the team leader of logistical requirements while preparing for combat operations. He also keeps the team leader informed of the team's logistical status.


A recon team does not have organic CSS assets. The assistant team leader is primarily responsible for determining the team's maintenance, supply, and personnel statuses. He coordinates directly with the 1SG for all CSS.

An engineer recon team presents complex logistical problems for the battalion staff. As explained in Chapters 3 and 4, the team normally operates to the front of the brigade/battalion TF. The team will probably move earlier and stay away longer than any other battalion element. It can be resupplied in one of several ways.

A maintenance team and/or logistics package (LOGPAC) can be dedicated to the engineer recon team. The maintenance team responds to the needs of the recon team and is brought forward by the company's 1SG or another responsible individual. The support package is tailored specifically to the engineer recon team's requirements and is small and flexible. The LOGPAC links up with the team at a specifically designated logistics release point (LRP) as far forward as possible. The assistant team leader is then responsible for distributing supplies to the recon team. He may distribute supplies by himself or be assisted by the individual who brought the LOGPAC forward, which is significantly faster. This method is best for the recon team, but difficult for the battalion because of its limited CSS resources.

The engineer recon team can also use the nearest company team's CSS assets for its resupply and maintenance. If this technique is used, the headquarters and headquarters company (HHC) commander/S4 and the engineer recon team leader should coordinate with the company team 1SG for support. The HHC commander and the battalion S4 should ensure that the supplies dedicated for the resupply of the engineer recon team are forwarded with the company team's regular LOGPAC. If possible, engineer recon team supplies pushed forward with the company team LOGPAC should be separated to ensure rapid resupply of the engineer scouts. In any case, the company team commander must realize the importance of refueling and rearming the engineer recon team.

Whatever support the engineer scout recon team receives must be keyed to a fast transfer of supplies. The recon team must be able to pull in, resupply, and leave as quickly as possible. The actual time that the recon team needs to resupply does not often coincide with standard LOGPAC times for the rest of the battalion. The S4, the support platoon leader, the engineer recon team leader, and any other key leaders must anticipate events to coordinate for the best resupply time.


Each team has a large amount of equipment and requires frequent resupply to accomplish its mission. Periodic checks are required by all leaders to make sure that the team's equipment (especially high-use items) is accounted for and ready to use. Leaders must anticipate expenditures and request supplies before an operation.


For classes of supply other than ammunition, basic loads are supplies kept by units for use in combat. The quantity of each item of supply in a basic load is based on the number of days the team may have to sustain itself without resupply. For ammunition, the basic load is the quantity required to be on hand to meet combat needs until resupply can be accomplished. The basic ammunition load is specified by the commander. The basic load of a recon team will probably not be the same as the rest of the unit because of the amount of time the recon team may be expected to operate away from the engineer battalion. This basic load must be well planned.


The following paragraphs examine each class of supply and discuss important considerations as they apply to the recon team:

Class I

This class includes subsistence items and gratuitous-issue health and welfare items. Meal, ready-to-eat (MRE) rations are stocked on each vehicle (usually a 3- to 5-day supply). A-rations are brought forward when possible to supplement MREs.

Potable water should be replenished daily, either by refilling from the water trailer or by rotating 5-gallon cans during LOGPAC. Each combat vehicle should maintain a minimum of 5 gallons of potable water per soldier, more during operations in arid climates or in mission-oriented protective posture (MOPP) gear.

All meals should be eaten in shifts. The team leader must not only make sure that the team is fed, but also that the team eats nutritious meals to maintain the energy levels required in combat. During continuous or cold-weather operations, soldiers should eat more than three meals per day. The extra allowance must be planned for.

Class II

This class includes items of equipment (other than principal items) that are prescribed in authorization and allowance tables. Individual tools and tool sets, individual equipment and clothing items, chemical lights, batteries, engineer tape, tentage, and housekeeping supplies are requested through the supply sergeant.

Class III and Class V

Class III comprises all types of POL products. Class V is ammunition, to include small arms, mines, and demolitions. For optimum security, refueling and rearming should occur simultaneously under the cover of darkness. This resupply usually occurs daily or at the conclusion of major operations. The two techniques of refueling and rearming--tailgate and service station--are covered later in this section.

The team leader must control the redistribution of supplies when fuel and ammunition cannot be delivered or when only limited supplies are available. He continually monitors the section's supply status through logistical reports. He notifies the chain of command when a specific vehicle or the team as a whole is critically short of these major classes of supply. The team leader should ensure that ammunition is equally distributed throughout the team before any tactical operation and during consolidation on an objective.

When planning for refueling, the team leader should keep the range and capacity of his vehicles and the requirements of future operations in mind; the amount of fuel required determines how much time it will take to refuel. The team leader must realize that a vehicle's cruising range and estimated fuel consumption are only approximations, subject to the effects of weather, terrain, and other factors. The team must refuel vehicles whenever the tactical situation permits. When time is limited, the assistant team leader must choose between refueling vehicles that need the most fuel first or giving limited amounts to each. Each vehicle crew needs to maintain a stock of Class III-P materials (such as oil, grease, and hydraulic fluid), replenishing these POL products every time refueling takes place.

Class IV

This class includes construction and barrier materials. Barrier materials such as lumber, sandbags, concertina or barbed wire, and pickets are used by the team to construct OPs and obstacles and to improve fighting positions. These materials are requested through the company or directly from the S4.

Class VI

This class covers personal demand items. Tobacco products, candy, and toiletry articles are normally sold through the exchange system during peacetime or for units not in a combat environment. In a combat environment, these items are sent with Class I as sundry packs.

Class VII

This class includes major end items. These are major pieces of equipment, assembled and ready for intended use, such as combat vehicles, missile launchers, artillery pieces, and major weapon systems. Major end items that are destroyed are reported immediately by means of logistical reports. They will be replaced by the parent unit as they are reported.

Class VIII

This class includes medical supplies that are provided through the battalion medical section and ordered through the battalion. These supplies include individual medical supplies such as first-aid dressings, refills for first-aid kits, water-purification tablets, and foot powder.

Class IX

This class comprises repair parts. These basic-load supplies are part of the combat prescribed load list (PLL). PLL items carried by the team usually include spare tires, assorted bolts, machine-gun parts, and light bulbs. Class IX supplies are requisitioned through the battalion's maintenance section.


The tactical situation and type/size of the engineer recon element will dictate which technique of resupply to use: tailgate, service station, a variation of one type, or a combination of both types. The situation will also dictate when to resupply. Generally, a recon team avoids resupply during recon operations; resupply should be done during mission transition.

In the tailgate technique, fuel and ammunition are brought to the engineer recon team by the assistant team leader or another responsible individual who is assisting him (see Figure 7-1). This method is used when routes leading to vehicle positions are available and the unit is not under direct enemy observation and fire. This technique is time-consuming, but useful in missions when the recon team is not moving and stealth is more easily maintained. If necessary, hand carry supplies to vehicle positions, further minimizing signatures.

Figure 7-1. Service-station method

In the service-station technique, vehicles move to a centrally located rearm and refuel point, either by vehicles or as an entire team (see Figure 7-2). Service-station resupply is inherently faster than the tailgate method; however, because vehicles must move and concentrate, it can create security problems.

Figure 7-2. Tailgate method

The assistant team leader can vary the specifics of the two basic techniques, or he can use them in combination. For example, he may use the tailgate method for his most forward OPs and the service-station method for his OPs further to the rear (see Figure 7-3).

Figure 7-3. Combination of techniques


Proper maintenance keeps equipment and materiel in serviceable condition. It includes preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) as well as the functions of inspecting, testing, servicing, repairing, requisitioning, recovering, and evacuating equipment and materiel whenever necessary.

Maintenance tasks are divided into unit (operator and organizational), DS, GS, and depot levels. The team leader is concerned primarily with unit maintenance and repair of equipment in DS maintenance.

Repair and recovery are accomplished as far forward as possible. When equipment cannot be repaired on site, it is moved to the rear (but only as far as necessary for repair) to a unit maintenance collection point (UMCP).


The nature of a recon team's missions requires it to operate long distances from maintenance support. For this reason, proper maintenance procedures must exist within the team to ensure equipment readiness at all times. The following paragraphs outline the maintenance responsibilities within the team.

Team Leader

The team leader has the ultimate responsibility for the condition and performance of the team's equipment and materiel. In that role, his duties include the following:

  • Ensuring that all team vehicles, weapon systems, and equipment (such as night-observation devices [NODs], mine detectors, and communications equipment) are combat ready at all times. The team leader also ensures that equipment that cannot be repaired at the team level is reported to the commander as soon as possible.
  • Knowing the present status of equipment, to include document numbers, job order numbers, and the maintenance stage of his vehicles. The team leader keeps his company commander informed of the current maintenance status.
  • Coordinating with the maintenance officer in planning, directing, and supervising the team's unit maintenance.
  • Developing and supervising an ongoing maintenance training program.
  • Ensuring that crews have the appropriate TMs and are trained and supervised to complete the required level of maintenance properly.
  • Ensuring that unit-level PMCS are performed on all assigned equipment according to the appropriate operator's manuals.
  • Ensuring that operators and assistant operators are trained and licensed to operate team vehicles and equipment in all weather conditions.
  • Planning and rehearsing a maintenance evacuation plan for every mission.
  • Supervising and accounting for section personnel during maintenance periods.
  • Ensuring that repair parts are used or stored in a timely fashion as they are received.

Assistant Team Leader

The assistant team leader is the team's first-line maintenance supervisor. In large part, the team's maintenance status, and thus its combat readiness, depends on its commitment to proper maintenance procedures. The assistant team leader's duties in this area include the following:

  • Ensuring that DA Forms 2404 and 2408-14 are filled out and updated according to DA Pamphlet (Pam) 738-750.
  • Ensuring that the crew is properly trained in PMCS procedures and that PMCS are performed on the vehicle according to the appropriate TMs.
  • Ensuring that, as a minimum, the assigned vehicle operator is properly trained and licensed. In preparing for continuous operations, the vehicle commander must ensure that all crew members are training and licensed as drivers.
  • Collecting and consolidating the section's maintenance status in the field and sending the appropriate reports to maintenance personnel.
  • Ensuring that vehicles are always topped off with fuel in garrison and that they receive fuel in the field.
  • Ordering parts for the vehicle.
  • Ensuring that repair parts are installed upon receipt or are stored in authorized locations.
  • Ensuring that all tools and basic-issue items are properly marked, stored, maintained, and accounted for.
  • Updating the vehicle's status constantly.

Unit Maintenance (Operator Level)

Operator maintenance includes proper care, use, and maintenance of assigned vehicles and crew equipment such as weapons, NBC equipment, and NVDs. The driver and other crew members perform daily services on the vehicles and equipment, to include inspecting, servicing, tightening, performing minor lubrication, cleaning, preserving, and adjusting. The crew is required to record the checks and services, as well as all equipment faults that they cannot immediately correct, on DA Form 2404. These reports are the primary means of reporting equipment faults through the assistant team leader to the team leader, and ultimately to organizational maintenance personnel.

Checks and services are prescribed for the automotive system and weapon systems. They are divided into three groups:

  • Before-operation checks.
  • During-operation checks.
  • After-operation checks.

These services are explained in every operator's manual and should be conducted as stated in the manual. Although operators must learn to operate equipment without referring to the manual, maintenance must be performed using the appropriate TM, not from memory.


Evacuation is necessary when a vehicle is damaged and cannot be repaired on-site within two hours or when it is the only means available to prevent capture or destruction by the enemy.

When a vehicle needs to be evacuated, the team leader reports its exact location, the vehicle type, and the extent of damage, if known, on the appropriate net to personnel designated in the unit's SOP or OPORD. Two soldiers should remain with the vehicle to assist in evacuation and repair, provide security, and deliver the repaired vehicle back to the team as soon as possible. A recovery vehicle from the company, battalion, or TF maintenance team will evacuate the damaged vehicle. It is vital that the damaged vehicle be placed in a covered position that allows the recovery vehicle to reach it without exposing the recovery crew to enemy fire.

If a recovery vehicle is not available or if time is critical, other team vehicles (if available) can evacuate the damaged vehicle for short distances. The decision to do this rests with the team leader. Procedures for towing are contained in the operator's manual. If the damaged vehicle will be lost for an extended period, the team can replace other vehicles' damaged equipment (such as weapons and radios) with properly functioning items from the damaged vehicle. The damaged equipment can then be repaired or replaced while the vehicle is being repaired. Self-evacuation by the team is a last resort that should be considered only to avoid losing the damaged vehicle to the enemy.


When evacuation of damaged or inoperable equipment is impossible, it must be destroyed. Team leaders must make sure crews are trained to destroy the vehicle rather than allow it to fall into enemy hands. Instructions for destroying each item of equipment are included in the operator' s manual.

The team leader should get the commander's authorization before destroying any equipment. However, when communications fail, the team leader must use his judgment to decide whether or not evacuation is possible. Every reasonable effort must be made to evacuate secure equipment, classified materials, and all weapons.


Leaders must emphasize high standards of health and hygiene. Soldiers must shave daily (so that their protective masks will seal) and bathe and change clothes regularly to prevent disease. Each soldier should carry shaving equipment, soap, a towel, and a change of clothing in a waterproof bag inside his pack.

During cold weather, soldiers must check their hands and feet regularly to prevent frostbite, trench foot, or immersion foot. They must also learn that the effects of windchill on exposed skin are equal to those of temperatures much lower than the thermometer shows. A moving vehicle will cause a windchill effect even if the air is calm.


Battlefield positioning and dispersion make the treatment and evacuation of wounded personnel two of the most difficult tasks that an engineer recon team must execute. To ensure successful handling of wounded engineers, brigades, battalions, and TFs must specifically allocate CSS assets to the engineer recon team to assist in evacuation. In addition, operational planning or SOPs must cover evacuation procedures in detail.

In the engineer recon team, it is the team leader's responsibility to ensure that wounded team members receive immediate first aid and that the commander is notified of all casualties. Using engineer scouts who are trained as combat lifesavers is critical. As a minimum, one member of each engineer recon team must be trained as a combat lifesaver. If wounded team members require evacuation, the team leader can do one of the following:

  • Coordinate evacuation with the closest troop, scout platoon, or company team for ground evacuation.
  • Request that the brigade/battalion TF task-organize a dedicated ambulance to the team for operations forward of the larger element. In the case of the HMMWV section, the ambulance should be a HMMWV variant located (for security) with the nearest company team.
  • Conduct self-evacuation with organic team assets.
  • Coordinate for aerial evacuation through the battalion TF.

Aerial evacuation, if it is available, is preferred because of its speed. The engineer scouts coordinate with their higher command and then switch to the designated frequency to coordinate directly with the medical-evacuation (MEDEVAC) aircraft. They must pick a relatively flat, open, and covered and concealed position for the aircraft's LZ. The location should be given to the aircraft by radio and marked with colored smoke as the aircraft approaches the area. The engineer recon team provides local security of the LZ until the evacuation is complete.

Regardless of the method of evacuation, the team leader and the assistant team leader must have the necessary CSS graphics available, to include casualty collection points. Evacuation procedures must be part of the section plan and should be rehearsed as part of mission preparation.

A wounded team member's individual weapon becomes the responsibility of the assistant team leader. Personal effects, weapons, and equipment are turned in to the company supply sergeant at the earliest opportunity. The team member's protective mask stays with him at all times. All sensitive items, such as maps, overlays, and SOPs, should also remain with the team.


The remains of personnel killed in action (KIA) will be placed in a body bag or sleeping bag or rolled in a poncho and evacuated by the team. The commander will designate a location for collection of KIA soldiers. If (as a last resort) the body must be left on the battlefield, the name, exact location, and circumstances are reported through channels with the appropriate SOP report. The lower dog tag is removed for turn-in to the team leader. The personal effects of a KIA soldier remain with the body. The KIA soldier's weapon, equipment, and issue items become the responsibility of the assistant team leader until they can be turned over to the supply sergeant or 1SG.

The bodies of KIA soldiers should not be placed on the same vehicle as wounded soldiers. If this rule cannot be adhered to, dead and wounded personnel may be carried on board a vehicle to its next stop. In an attack, the next stop may be the objective; in the defense, it may be the next BP. Teams must be prepared to give first aid and to continue the mission with a limited team without stopping.


Enemy prisoners of war (EPWs) are excellent sources of combat intelligence information; they must be processed and evacuated to the rear quickly. If enemy soldiers want to surrender, it is a team's moral and legal responsibility to take them into custody and safeguard them until they can be evacuated.

The team leader directs team members to take the EPWs to a designated area. The prisoners are then evacuated to the rear for interrogation.

If an EPW is wounded and cannot be evacuated through medical channels, the nearest company XO or 1SG is notified. The EPW will be escorted to the company trains, or the 1SG will come forward with guards to evacuate him.


The basic principles for handling EPWs are covered by the five S and one T procedures: search, segregate, silence, speed, safeguard, and tag.

  • Search. Remove all weapons and documents. Return to the EPW those personal items of no military value. The EPW keeps his helmet, protective mask, and gear to protect him from immediate dangers of the battle area.
  • Segregate. Break the chain of command; separate EPWs by rank, sex, and other suitable categories. Keep the staunch fighters away from those who willingly surrender.
  • Silence. Prevent EPWs from giving orders, planning escapes, and developing false cover stories.
  • Speed. Speed EPWs to the rear to remove them from the battle area and to obtain and use their information.
  • Safeguard. Prevent EPWs from escaping. Protect all EPWs from violence, insults, curiosity, and reprisals of any kind.
  • Tag. Tag EPWs and documents or special equipment.

Never approach an enemy soldier. He may have a weapon hidden nearby, or he may be booby trapped. Gesture for him to come forward until it is clear that he is honestly surrendering and not trying to lure friendly troops into an ambush. Use a thermal sight to locate possible ambushes. When searching the EPW, always have another friendly soldier cover him with a weapon. Do not get between the EPW and the soldier covering him.

The rights of EPWs have been established by international law, and the US has agreed to obey these laws. Once an enemy soldier shows he wants to surrender, he must be treated humanely. It is a court-martial offense to physically or mentally harm or mistreat a EPW or needlessly expose him to fire. In addition, mistreated EPWs or those who receive special favors are not good interrogation subjects.

The senior officer or NCO on the scene is legally responsible for the care of EPWs. If the unit cannot evacuate an EPW within a reasonable time, he must be provided with food, water, and medical treatment.

Before evacuating an EPW, ensure that a tag is attached to him listing pertinent information and procedures. Tags may be obtained through supply channels or made from materials available on the battlefield. An example is illustrated in Figures 7-4 and 7-5.

Figure 7-4. Sample standardized EPW tag (front)

Figure 7-5. Sample standardized EPW tag (back)


Captured enemy documents (such as maps, orders, records, and photographs) and equipment are excellent sources of intelligence information. However, if captured items are not handled properly, the information in them may be lost or delayed until it is useless. These items must be evacuated to the next level of command as soon as possible.

The section should tag each captured item (see Figure 7-6). If the item is found in the EPW's possession, include his name on the tag and give the item to the guard. The guard delivers the item with the EPW to the next higher headquarters.

Figure 7-6. Sample tag for captured documents and equipment


When dealing with civilians or detained noncombatants, care must be taken. These personnel should be processed through the military police or the local police authority.

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