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The pathfinder operational formats described herein may be used to plan and carry out pathfinder operations. They are intended as guides and should be modified as required.


The pathfinder leader uses this format (Figure A-1) in organizing an operation. It consolidates information pertinent to each individual or element, and the leader can use it as a reference during his planning and briefing. The following definitions apply to the format.

a. Aircraft Number. The chalk number or the last three digits of the number on the tail of the aircraft that transports the pathfinders.

b. Name. The names of the pathfinders.

c. Load Time. The time pathfinders are loaded on the aircraft with all of their equipment.

d. Takeoff (Lift-Off) Time. The time the aircraft departs the staging area

e. Duty and Location. The mission assignment and location within the operational area for each pathfinder.

f. Call Sign and Frequency. The radio call sign and frequency for personnel operating radios.

g. Equipment. Equipment other than individual that each pathfinder element will carry.

h. Remarks. Other pertinent information.


This format may be used to maintain a record of aircraft arrivals, departures, and type loads. It serves as a source of information for both ground and aviation commanders. It aids in accounting for personnel and equipment, and it may be instrumental in initiating or assisting in search-and-rescue operations for overdue or downed aircraft. It is normally maintained by the pathfinder internal radio net(work) operator at the control center (Figure A-2).

a. Format Headings.

    (1) Pathfinder unit. Code or number designation (or F7 personnel).

    (2) Supported unit. Principal ground unit or aviation unit designation.

    (3) Period. Date and time operation commences until termination of operation or end of the day; 0001 until 2400 hours on succeeding days or until completion of operation.

    (4) Operation (AFLD, LZ, DZ). Name or number of operation. Cross out items not applicable and add any special designation used.

    (5) Recorder. Name of person who records data on the form.

b. Column Headings.

    (1) Flight or aircraft number. Radio call sign of the flight or aircraft.

    (2) Type aircraft. Army or Air Force model designation.

    (3) Time communication established. Time aircraft acknowledges contact (radio and/or visual, as applicable).

    (4) Time. Arrival time of aircraft or when first of flight lands; departure time of aircraft or when last of flight clears the ground.

    (5) Type load. Delivered (supplies, equipment, or personnel); evacuated (supplies, equipment, or personnel).


Upon receipt of an order to conduct a pathfinder operation, the pathfinder leader follows, to the extent possible, the following troop leading procedures.

a. Issue section warning order, including the following.

    (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 with place, time, and personnel to be present.

    (8) Specific instructions and attached personnel.

    (9) Time hack.

b. Make tentative plan of operation, including the following.

    (1) Study map.

    (2) Check weather.

    (3) Study unit SOP.

    (4) Make a quick estimate of the situation: additional personnel needed from supported unit; additional equipment of materiel needed; communication requirements.

    (5) Begin planning.

c. Arrange for movement and coordination, including the following.

    (1) Movement of unit (inform second in command).

    (2) Coordination (with ground and aviation units): ground tactical plan; landing and unloading plan; air movement plan; loading plan, additional personnel or equipment, if any, from supported unit.

d. Prepare tentative operation plan, including the following.

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

    (2) Continue estimate and receive recommendations.

    (3) Complete plan (work out details, formulate orders); present tentative plan to supported unit commander or his staff; prepare final plan based on desires of supported unit commander and 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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