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Combat service support for airborne operations must be planned, organized, and executed to sustain a fast tempo in highly mobile and dispersed operations. Just as the airborne force is tailored for airdrop or airland combat operations, the logistical system is tailored to support and sustain the airhead or lodgment by airdrop, airland, overland, or sea, as resources are available. Doctrinal distances do not always apply to airborne operations. Therefore, the logistical planner must be prepared to adapt and innovate with the resources at hand. Thus, airborne operations logistics depend greatly on outside support.


Logistical plans cover the four essential elements of logistics: supply, maintenance, transportation, and services. Brigades, battalions, and companies start their logistical plans as soon as they receive a WO or instructions to implement an OPLAN. The plan covers both support during combat and preassault preparation. The part of the plan covering the preassault phase includes supplying the unit, moving to the marshaling area, and conducting logistical operations in the target area. Brigade plans are more inclusive and detailed than battalion and company plans; battalions and companies are more concerned with the execution of scheduled logistical functions.


A DISCOM forward area support team in each brigade support area provides the brigade with CSS. The team is tailored to satisfy the requirements of the supported brigade and is formed around a forward support maintenance company and a forward medical company. The division support command forms three echelons to support the assault echelon, the follow-on elechon, and the rear echelon. Each is tailored to the mission.

a. Assault Echelon. This echelon consists of a portion or all of the FAST as determined by the commander's concept of the operation. It is normally attached to the supported brigade during marshaling. This attachment remains effective during the assault phase. The FAST is tailored for the mission and can include elements from a forward maintenance company, a forward medical company, and a forward supply company. It can also include a detachment from the quartermaster airdrop equipment support company that can assist in the recovery and evacuation of airdrop equipment from the DZ. The FAST may receive augmentation from corps based on mission needs.

b. Follow-On Echelon. Most of the DISCOM enters the AO in the follow-on echelon under control of the DISCOM. Normally deploying by airland assault, the CSS follow-on echelon includes the remainder of the DISCOM HHC (-), a detachment of the quartermaster airdrop equipment support company, the remainder of the maintenance battalion, and the supply and transportation battalion. Remaining DISCOM units stay at the departure airfield in the rear echelon.

c. Rear Echelon. This echelon remains at the departure airhead or ISB and consists of elements not immediately required in the airhead to support the airborne force. These elements include the remaining portions of the DISCOM MMC, maintenance battalion, quartermaster airdrop equipment support, and the finance and personnel service companies (corps unit). Depending on the duration and nature of the operation, the rear echelon may be called forward and deployed into the AO after the lodgment is established.


Responsibility for planning various logistical aspects of the operation is shared by several agencies.

a. Assault Force. The airborne force (normally, a brigade or battalion TF) conducting combat operations has the following responsibilities:

(1) Concentrate, organize, and equip the airborne forces.

(2) Load soldiers and their accompanying supplies and equipment.

(3) Recover airdropped supplies and equipment, and provide CSS units to unload aircraft in the airhead.

(4) Move supplies from landing fields to airhead supply points by airhead supply units.

(5) Operate airhead supply points.

(6) Conduct logistical operations within the perimeter of the airhead with normal logistical agencies.

(7) Repair or construct the required airfields within the airhead until ground linkup.

(8) Consolidate, treat, and evacuate casualties from airhead airfields.

b. Division Support Command, Rear Echelon, and COSCOM Units. These units have the following responsibilities:

(1) Receive, procure, and deliver equipment and supplies to rear air bases for transportation to the airhead.

(2) Move airborne forces to the marshaling camps, and provide for accompanying equipment and supplies.

(3) Evacuate from rear air bases.

(4) Operate marshaling areas.

c. Air Force Units and Installations. These elements have the following responsibilities:

(1) Maintain aircraft.

(2) Receive unload, and temporarily store supplies at rear air bases.

(3) Load supplies for delivery to the airhead.

d. Military Airlift Command. These units have the following responsibilities:

(1) Conduct air movement of soldiers, equipment, and supplies to landing areas within an airhead.

(2) Assist in logistical organization for the receipt of supplies on airfields in the airhead.

(3) Evacuate casualties from airfields in the airhead.

(4) Construct, rehabilitate, and maintain airfields in the airhead after ground linkup.

(5) Supervise loading and lashing operations at the rear air bases for flying safety.

(6) Coordinate deployment of aeromedical evacuation liaison teams, and establish the tactical aeromedical evacuation system.


A number of factors and considerations affect logistical planning. Preliminary data needed to prepare the logistical plan includes an analysis of the AO, the ground tactical plan, the anticipated duration of the operation, and unit strength.

a. Basic Decisions. For the logistical plan to progress, planners make basic decisions as early as possible. This allows all responsible agencies to prepare and execute plans for procurement and assembly of aircraft, supplies, equipment, and personnel. They decide on the following:

(1) What forces will be involved, how they will be organized, and what their principal objectives will be.

(2) What the tentative strength and composition of logistical units in the airborne force will be.

(3) What amount/type of equipment should accompany the airborne force.

(4) What initial supplies will be taken.

(5) What level of supplies should be maintained in the airhead.

(6) What airfields will be used for the landing of soldiers and supplies.

(7) Where marshaling camps will be; what soldiers and materiel will be marshaled at each camp.

(8) How long it should take to organize airheads in the landing areas.

(9) How follow-on echelons of major airborne force units should be organized, and what method of movement should be planned for them.

(10) Where rear air bases to be used for supply purposes should be located.

(11) How available aircraft should be allocated for soldiers and supply.

(12) When (on what date) airborne forces should be ready for embarkation by aircraft.

(13) What capacity of the ISB should be maintained at advance air bases to facilitate supply.

(14) What evacuation policies should be set up.

b. Detailed Plans. Planners prepare detailed logistics based on the basic decisions. The following considerations also affect the plan:

(1) What facilities are required for staging soldiers at marshaling camps.

(2) How the desired quantities of supplies will be delivered to rear air bases at the proper time.

(3) How many, what size, and what type aircraft are available, and what their loading characteristics are.

(4) What materiels-handling equipment is available.

(5) What the distance is between rear air bases and landing areas.

(6) What the characteristics of the proposed airhead are, including road net, storage, and other facilities.

(7) How long the follow-on supply phase will go on before normal supply procedures are in effect, including time for construction, repair, or capture of airfields.

(8) How much or how many supplies, equipment, and materials will be available within the proposed airhead for possible exploitation.

(9) What is the climate, or what season.

(10) If units will have to designate transportation assets for the medical unit to transport casualties.

(11) If dedicated air MEDEVAC (fixed- or rotary-wing) are required and available.

(12) How casualty assets arc to be evacuated if no corps augmentation is available.


There are three supply phases for airborne operations: accompanying supplies, follow-on supplies, and routine supplies.

a. Accompanying Supplies. These include supplies taken into the airhead by assault and follow-on units. Accompanying supplies are issued to units before marshaling for early preparation before air movement and for delivery in the assault. They are carried into the assault area and include the supplies airdropped with the deploying unit. Each unit receives and protects its own accompanying supplies, which include unit, force, and reserve supplies.

(1) Unit supplies. These supplies include each soldiers' combat loads, basic loads of ammunition and other supplies, and prescribed loads of other classes of supply. Rigging, loading, recovery, issue, and control of unit supplies are the responsibility of the airborne unit.

(2) Force supplies. These are bulk supplies retained at battalion or brigade that the backup unit provides. They include all classes of supply. The S4 of the deploying unit is responsible for controlling these supplies.

(3) Reserve supplies. These are additional supplies brought into the airhead under DISCOM control; they consist of the airborne force reserve of Class III, Class V, selected items of Classes II and IV, and Class IX.

b. Follow-on Supplies. Follow-on supplies include all classes of supply; they are air-delivered after the unit has made its initial assault to help the unit operate until normal supply procedures can be set up. They are usually prepackaged, rigged, and stored at the beginning of the operation for immediate distribution on request. COSCOM units will most likely provide assistance in the packaging of follow-on supplies. Quantities are based on the G4's estimate of the unit's daily requirements. Plans must be developed that permit flexibility in composition of daily requirements. The battalion S4 requests follow-on supplies for the battalion. Follow-on resupply is discontinued as soon as practicable.

(1) Automatic follow-on supplies. These are delivered on a preplanned schedule once a day, beginning at a time based on the ground tactical plan. The number of days of scheduled follow-on supply depends on the specific situation and should be enough for the airborne forces to continue their operations until routine supply is available. Automatic follow-on supplies are either airdropped to the unit or airlanded at a central supply point. Follow-on supply should not be scheduled for automatic delivery on the day the operation is to begin because units within the airhead should be fully occupied with seizing assault objectives, establishing the airhead, and recovering accompanying supplies.

(2) On-call follow-on supplies. These are held in the departure area in readiness for immediate delivery to units on specific request. They include more of the items supplied by automatic follow-on, major items of equipment, and supplies that arc not used at a predictable rate. The airborne force determines the quantities and types of supplies to be included in on-call supply. Depending on the situation, on-call supplies can be segregated and prepackaged into loads by type, such as 105-millimeter artillery ammunition, or can be maintained in bulk pending emergency requests for specific types and amounts. Emergency supplies must be delivered within 24 hours. Routine supplies arc delivered on a flexible schedule--24 to 72 hours after the request. Whenever any of the on-call follow-on supplies are used, the expended amounts are replaced.

c. Routine Supplies. These are requested and delivered by normal supply procedures. The DISCOM commander decides when routine supply deliveries should begin, depending on the tactical situation and supply status of the division.


The following paragraphs provide information about the classes of supply, the use of captured supplies and salvage, water supply, and special supplies and equipment

a. Supplies are divided into 10 major categories so that items can be readily identified to each particular class. Classes of supply are the same for all types of combat operations.

(1) Class I. This class includes meal, ready-to-cat, tray pack, and A-type meals. Airborne units use MREs as the basic load and for follow-on supply. Tray packs and A-type meals may be used later as the airhead develops and the lodgment becomes secure. Personnel strength reports determine Class I requirements, thereby eliminating complicated unit ration requests.

(2) Class II. This class includes clothing, individual equipment, tentage, hand tools, administrative and housekeeping supplies and equipment, and chemical decontaminants. It also includes supplies and some equipment (other than principal items) prescribed in authorization or allowance tables; it does not include repair parts. Accompanying supplies include some Class II items. Follow-on and routine supply include small stocks of individual clothing and equipment while on-call follow-on supply includes major items of equipment, as the situation dictates.

(3) Class III. This class includes POLs. Unit vehicles and equipment are usually delivered to the airhead with fuel tanks 3/4 full to allow for expansion during airlift. Forecasts for POL are used by units to program delivery of POL as part of the assault and follow-on supplies. Packaged POL and bulk POL supplies are used. Care must be taken to ensure that bulk aviation fuel is dispensed using fuel filters and separators. Plans for POL should include retrograde of containers for refill.

(4) Class IV. This class includes construction materials and all fortification/barrier materials. Units can only take a limited amount of Class IV supplies into the objective area. Careful choice of drop and assault LZs reduces the amount of Class IV supplies needed to support the operation by minimizing the requirement for construction equipment and material. Units exploit local resources.

(5) Class V. This class of supply includes all ammunition. Planners must consider that, during the assault phase, ammunition tonnage is greater than the combined weight of all other supplies. Units take a basic load only. The amounts are expressed in number of rounds for each weapon each day. Specified amounts of all types of ammunition for airborne forces weapons (enough for continuity of the combat operation) comprise follow-on supply. The amounts of ammunition needed depend on the type of operation and the strength of enemy opposition. Follow-on resupply should be cross loaded to offset loss of one type of item if aircraft are lost. Planners provide in advance for possible additions or deletions of certain types of ammunition. Expenditure rates are based only on staff estimates, which must take into consideration the following factors:

  • Degree of opposition to be encountered during and after the landing.
  • Number and type of weapons landed with airborne forces.
  • Planned time of follow-on supply.
  • Number and types of aircraft to be used.

(6) Class VI. This class includes personnel demand (Army and Air Force Exchange Service) items that are usually unavailable in the airhead for sale or issue to soldiers and other authorized individuals. It should not be confused with the ration supplement and sundries pack. (The sundries pack has items necessary to the health and comfort of soldiers such as essential toilet articles, tobacco, and confections. It is available in theaters of operation for issue through Class I channels, pending establishment of adequate service facilities.)

(7) Class VII. This class includes major end items. Certain items of this class can be retained for use in on-call resupply to replace those lost in combat or during airdrop. This is critical for certain items of equipment; especially, engineer items whose loss could significantly affect the operation.

(8) Class VIII. This class includes medical materiel, which is discussed with health services.

(9) Class IX. This includes repair parts such as kits, assemblies and subassemblies, and repairable and nonrepairable parts required for maintenance support of all equipment. Maintenance elements entering the airhead carry PLL, shop stocklisting, and designated items from the ASL.

(10) Class X. This includes materiel to support civil affairs and nonmilitary programs. Airborne operations usually require minimal Class X during the assault phase.

b. Captured Supplies and Salvage. Within limitations prescribed by the commander, units use captured or abandoned enemy materiel and supplies. The use of captured equipment/materiel eases the logistical burden in the airhead by reducing the number of airframes needed in the early stages of the operation. (See FMs 100-10 and 63-20 for information about restrictions on the use of captured equipment/materiel.) Logistical considerations require recovery of salvageable equipment; especially parachutes, air delivery containers, and heavy-drop platforms.

c. Water. Airborne forces carry filled canteens and water purification tablets. They carry enough full organic water containers for travel to the airhead and consumption while they are there. Planners must plan for resupply in the air flow to ensure soldiers have enough water in the airhead. Planners should also determine the location of possible water supply points. Water purification units are made available in the airhead as early as practicable.

d. Special Supplies and Equipment. Changing situations in airborne operations can make additions, deletions, and substitutions of standard equipment and units' prescribed loads necessary. Conditions often require the use of nonstandard items such as escape kits, recognition devices, currency, special individual medical supplies and equipment, and individual maps. Each unit arranges for these items and distributes them either before or during marshaling, according to security principles.


Supply and transport units can accompany the assault echelon to recover assault supplies transported under control of the airborne force and to establish necessary supply points. The airborne force can use supply point distribution, unit distribution, or both to handle supplies. Helicopters can deliver priority supplies.

a. Throughput distribution bypasses one or more intermediate supply echelons to avoid multiple handling. Commanders choose this method whenever possible to deliver supplies from the rear echelon to the using unit in the airhead.

b. In the unit distribution method, the issuing agency transports supplies to the receiving unit's area. They can use ground transportation from supply points near DZs or airfields, or they can airdrop supplies directly to the using unit.

c. With supply point distribution, the receiving unit picks up supplies from a distribution point and moves them in organic transportation. Distribution points for essential combat supplies are positioned close to the soldiers being served to benefit from the security provided by the combat elements. This also prevents infiltrating hostile forces from cutting the supplies off from the receiving unit, and shortens supply lines.

d. Supplies must be delivered to the airhead configured for easy handling. Limited MHE, CSS, and transportation assets available, as well as the tactical situation, affect supply distribution in the objective area. Multiple DZs must be selected including sites close to the forward battalions/companies. Some supplies should be packed into CDS bundles for expedient follow-on resupply.


Army and Air Force assets are used for both airland and airdrop, although most Air Force deliveries are airdrop. Airland is better because special equipment or rigging is not required. When airdrop is necessary, the Army furnishes the airdrop equipment and rigs the loads. Airdrop rigging support for division airdrop resupply comes from division and corps airdrop units.

a. Preplanned Resupply Requests. Preplanned airdrop resupply can be automatic or on call. Automatic airdrop resupply can be arranged for a designated time and place to support specific operations. On-call airdrop resupply uses prerigged and pre-positioned supplies that are arranged for before an operation and delivered when requested by the supporting unit. To obtain a preplanned airdrop, units in the airhead request supplies and equipment from their DS unit in the FAST. (Figure 9-1.)

b. Immediate Airdrop Resupply Requests. Immediate airdrop resupply missions result from unanticipated, urgent, or priority requirements. Immediate requests for resupply missions must be flown faster than preplanned missions. Unless the JFC has allocated airdrop assets for strip alert or has otherwise kept airlift in reserve, immediate airdrop resupply requests are filled by preempting, diverting, or canceling lower priority preplanned missions. (Figure 9-2.)


The problem of maintenance is usually magnified by the need for security for maintenance personnel in the assault during the initial combat and by the damage that may occur during the air delivery of equipment. (See FM 43-5 and AR 750-1 for detailed information on all maintenance resources found in airborne units, and their employment.)

a. Follow-On. When deployed in the follow-on echelon, the maintenance battalion provides a forward support company to the FAST supporting each brigade. Habitual attachments are used to establish working relationships and develop SOPs. Maintenance responsibilities and procedures may vary through each phase of the operation.

b. Marshaling and Deployment. To reduce maintenance requirements in the airhead, intensive maintenance is performed before departure. Maintenance units support unit marshaling with unit and DS maintenance, as required. The maintenance battalion, augmented by MACG elements, provides maintenance contact teams to inspect and repair equipment during marshaling. Units report items requiring GS maintenance that cannot be repaired in time for the operation to the DMMC, which requisitions replacements for those items. The DMMC directs the maintenance battalion to use the operational readiness float to fill critical combat requirements. The maintenance battalion repairs all equipment that cannot be repaired at DS level in time for unit deployment and places it in the division's ORF. Maintenance support units are positioned as needed to provide repair services.

c. Maintenance in the Objective Area. Maintenance during the initial assault and subsequent operations phase is usually performed by maintenance personnel organic to the battalions and separate companies. The complete forward support company plus other designated individuals and equipment from the maintenance battalion enter the objective area in the follow-on echelon. These personnel deploy as part of the FAST to provide DS of primary weapons systems and communications equipment. They carry the DS maintenance company's ASL. They use battle damage assessment and repair procedures for severely damaged or inoperable systems to maintain the maximum number of systems available for combat. Direct support maintenance support teams perform mission-essential maintenance; they perform other maintenance only as time permits. Priority for maintenance is usually given to weapon systems that require minimum effort to restore to mission-capable condition. Maintenance support teams are as far forward as practicable under the control and coordination of the FAST.

d. Expansion and Buildup of the Airhead. During this phase, the remaining DS maintenance elements are deployed. Direct support is provided to the brigade by the maintenance company in the BSA. Backup DS is provided by the remainder of the maintenance battalion in the DSA. The maintenance unit also provides backup DS to the forward maintenance elements. General support is provided to the division by nondivisional maintenance assets from the corps.


Transportation plans provide for the transport of soldiers and accompanying supplies to the marshaling area, transportation needed during marshaling, and the loading of unit transport with supplies and equipment for the assault.

a. In an airborne operation, transportation means in the airhead are limited. Captured enemy vehicles are used to supplement limited transportation resources; efficient use of organic transportation is essential. The assaulting battalions and brigades will have austere organic transportation assets and will not be capable of sustained combat operations without augmentation. Ground transportation for the brigade is provided largely by the division supply and transportation battalion. Requests for movement of supplies are processed through logistics channels from the requesting unit S4 through the FAST to the movement control officer on the DISCOM staff. The MCO controls and allocates vehicles from the S&T battalion. The MCO controls commitment of the transportation motor transport company vehicles for CSS within the division. Requirements that cannot be satisfied are forwarded to the division transportation officer. He can request the use of divisional aircraft or vehicles support from other units in the division from the G3 to satisfy these requirements These aircraft and vehicles may be provided by other divisional units, the COSCOM MMC, or the host nation when the tactical situation permits.

b. During an airborne operation, greater reliance is placed on Air Force transportation of supplies, personnel, and equipment than on ground transportation. Airhead transportation requirements can be reduced by delivering supplies and equipment directly to the battalion or company in Air Force aircraft. LAPES, CDS, and heavy-drop, properly used and delivered at the correct location, can reduce transportation requirements speed delivery, and reduce the vulnerability of ground transportation assets to enemy action. Air Force airlift missions are categorized as preplanned or immediate.


Field services provided by division personnel to the brigade and battalion during wartime operations include graves registration and salvage. A COSCOM service element provides these services when division personnel cannot. General support units operated by corps provide other field services such as laundry, bakery, textile renovation, and airdrop. Limited GRREG services are usually the only field service available in the airhead, although all can exist in the marshaling area. Staging bases in the rear provide airdrop support as a service.

a. Graves Registration. Airborne units have no graves registration capability and require augmentation to perform this function. Soldiers must learn how to identify and process remains and to establish and operate collection points. Units recover remains and evacuate them to designated locations IAW unit SOP.

(1) Evacuation. After identification, designated unit personnel evacuate remains to the collecting point in the BSA or the division collection point in the DSA using available transportation. After coordination with the Air Force, Army units move the remains to the airfield for aerial evacuation.

(2) Burial. Units perform hasty or mass burials only when the tactical situation prevents evacuation. The TF commander retains authority for mass burials. The training of graves registration personnel should include the procedures for marking and recording hasty burial sites.

b. Airdrop Support. Airdrop is a method of delivering supplies and equipment from aircraft to ground elements. The division relies on its organic quartermaster airdrop equipment support company and corps airdrop units for support. (See FM 10-400 for more information.)


Airborne operations pose all the personnel problems found in other types of operations. Many airborne unit administrative personnel remain at the rear base where administrative tasks are more efficiently performed. These factors usually require the airborne division to decentralize and delegate many of its personnel functions to brigades and battalions.


A record is kept of the personnel participating in the airborne assault and of those that remain in the departure area. After the assault landings have been made, the units of the airborne force submit strength reports as prescribed in the force SOP. They include the number of personnel from other units who have joined the reporting unit. Ideally, the air mission commander will notify the ground unit commander of personnel who do not exit the aircraft.


Airborne operations should be launched with full-strength units. Replacements are retained at division level to fill initial combat losses, as required.

a. Overstrength Replacements. Personnel losses sustained during the initial stages (about the first three days) of the airborne operation are estimated and reported. These include loss estimates for the air movement and early ground phases. Shelf requisitions for overstrength replacements are based on the total loss estimate. These replacements should be received in time to be assigned to and train with subordinate units of the division. They do not participate in the initial airborne assault, but are held in the departure area and delivered to the objective area when required. Aircraft are allocated for the movement of overstrength replacements to the objective area.

b. Unit Replacements. It is desirable to have company- to battalion-size unit replacements briefed and available in the departure area for commitment as required. These units remain under the control of the next higher headquarters until released to the airborne commander.

c. Other Replacements. Replacements required besides overstrength replacements are requisitioned in the usual manner.


The first soldier having knowledge of casualties submits prompt, factual, and accurate casualty reports. This is done IAW appropriate regulations, through unit SOPS, and channels to headquarters DA for next-of-kin notification. The G1/AG and S1 prepare casualty-reporting plans, and furnish precombat instructions and procedures. Each echelon must prepare to make accurate and timely casualty reports. (See FMs 10-20 and 10-30 for a detailed discussion of casualty reporting at battalion and brigade level.)


Limited numbers of tactical/strategic airframes or the limited duration of the mission (such as hostage rescue and withdrawal) makes comprehensive planning for austere operations necessary. Medical plans should include tailored medical packages to support the initial assault force, with follow-on support to arrive during the lodgment or subsequent operations phase. Health service support planners must be involved early in the planning process to ensure that timely and adequate medical support is provided to the deployed force. Planning considerations include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Medical threat.
  • Casualty estimates.
  • Anticipated areas of patient density.
  • Anticipated casualty mix.
  • Lines of patient drift.
  • Field hygiene, sanitation, and other preventive medical considerations.
  • Preplanned patient treatment stations, patient collecting points, and ambulance exchange points.
  • Evacuation policy.
  • Mode of evacuation.
  • Augmentation for the provision of en route medical care on nonmedical vehicles.
  • Augmentation for patient decontamination support.
  • Mass casualty plans.

Note: See FM 8-55 for a complete discussion of health service support planning factors.

a. Health Service Support Planning. The same principles of combat medical support that apply to other combat Army units also apply to airborne units. The mobility of airborne medical units must match that of the units they support. The medical units accompany soldiers at all times to provide prompt and efficient medical care and evacuation. Airborne and air assault divisions' medical support units are the only division-level medical elements that have emergency surgical capabilities.

(1) In short-duration operations, a very short-term evacuation policy is normal; usually less than 72 hours. When air evacuation is possible, necessary medical installations are near suitable airlanding facilities. When aircraft cannot land for purposes of evacuation, more medical facilities with an increased holding capacity will be required in the objective area.

(2) In long-duration operations, allowing for the establishment of medical facilities will permit a longer evacuation policy as the operation progresses. A firm policy for a long-duration operation cannot be established in advance; it is modified as circumstances permit or require.

(3) Evacuation and treatment elements of division-level health service support must enter the objective area early because unit-level health service support does not have a holding capability.

(4) Most of the division medical battalion is introduced into the airhead during the airland phase of the assault. One medical company is initially attached to the FAST to simplify operational control. The rest of the battalion is committed at a time and place that best supports the division as a whole and provides the best possible medical care. Medical battalion headquarters resumes control of subordinate companies supporting the brigade as early as possible to ensure effective use of the limited medical resources available in the airhead. Medical companies supporting brigades are scheduled for deployment early in the assault phase. They provide prompt relief for battalion aid stations temporarily performing an expanded treatment and holding mission. Unless the brigade mission requires offensive action over extended distances, the supporting medical company establishes a full-size clearing station near an LZ that is centrally located in the brigade sector.

(5) When a significant delay is anticipated between the deployment of medical companies and the scheduled arrival of Air Force aeromedical staging facilities in the airhead, the medical companies are reinforced by corps medical resources. These added resources provide the capability for holding patients and for helping to load them aboard evacuation aircraft.

(6) Medical company ambulance resources are reinforced to ensure the capability of simultaneous support to battalion aid stations and evacuation of patients from the clearing station to the LZ embarkation point. Elements of the division medical battalion assigned to undeployed combat battalions are retained at departure airfields unless an extremely large patient work load develops in the airhead. One or more of the following methods can be used to evacuate from division clearing stations:

  • Aeromedical evacuation from the airhead by the Air Force.
  • Evacuation to airland corps medical units arriving in the airhead later in the operation.
  • Evacuation through normal charnels after ground linkup.

(7) Medical elements of a division directed to link up with the airhead should be prepared to immediately supplement airhead medical support, to accept patient overloads, and to eliminate surgical backlogs in airhead clearing stations. The linkup division may require reinforcement to perform this relief mission.

(8) If corps medical resources are not readily available because of airframe shortage or limited response time, the division forward support medical company may have to assume some of the duties of the MASF. An aeromedical evacuation liaison team can be deployed with the medical company to interface with the AECC. The FSMC will assume the MASF duties of staging, manifesting, and locating the casualties.

b. Phases of Employment. Medical support planning is conducted for each phase of the airborne operation.

(1) Marshaling phase. Limited outload of divisional units from the CONUS base is accomplished by CSS within the division. Medical support for the outload of brigade-size or less airborne forces is accomplished with organic divisional medical assets. Medical support to a force greater than brigade-size must be provided by a fixed facility or corps-level medical units. Organic medical platoons within maneuver battalions and the lead medical company required during the deployment (assault) phase can provide only limited tailgate medical support to organic elements because personnel and equipment are preparing to deploy.

(2) Air movement and assault phase. Medical actions during this phase depend on the size of the deploying force. Unit members are cross loaded on multiple aircraft. This ensures that the loss of one aircraft does not keep other members of the unit from performing the mission. The fact that airborne operations usually occur at night to increase the elements of security and surprise adds further confusion on the DZ. The paratrooper must be able to perform independent actions (such as providing aid to himself and his buddy) because he maybe separated from the aidman during the initial assault.

(a) The medical platoon organic to the combat battalion provides immediate medical support on deployment. It has limited treatment capabilities and no holding capacity. After the initial parachute assault is completed, unit aidmen in the combat medic section link up with organic line companies and establish CCPs.

(b) As part of the DISCOM FAST, the FSMC provides division-level medical support to a two-battalion-to brigade-size element. The medical company can be tailored in size for the initial mission of the airborne assault (Alpha Echelon), with a follow-on complement (Bravo Echelon) to follow during airdrop or airland activities.

c. Air Force Health Service Support. The airborne unit collects and transports regulated patients to the Air Force MASF when it is established. It also provides patient staging in the airhead until the Air Force has facilities available. The Air Force, using the tactical aeromedical evacuation system, begins intratheater evacuation to supporting medical treatment units. The TAES is a highly mobile system designed to deploy/redeploy on short notice to any airfield, including the foremost assault airfields used to support combat ground forces. As a complete aeromedical evacuation subsystem, the TAES functions as a total system to provide interim medical care and expedite the evacuation of the sick and injured. In its deployed form, the TAES comprises three elements:

(1) The aeromedical evacuation liaison team coordinates with the MRO of the forward medical treatment units, the aeromedical evacuation control center, and the MASF to ensure a smooth and rapid flow of patients within the system.

(2) The AECC is the C2 element for the subsystem, coordinating activities among the elements and ensuring tactical aircraft are made available to meet aeromedical evacuation requirements.

(3) The MASF provides short-term holding and supportive treatment for patients that are to be evacuated. The medical flight crews deployed in support of the TAES provide in-flight nursing care aboard the aircraft. In an emergency, personnel from the MASF can also provide in-flight nursing care.

The mission of the TAES is to evacuate patients between points of treatment within the combat zone, and from the combat zone to points outside. Using backhaul aircraft capability, TAES relieves combat commanders of patient care and protection. The MASF does not possess any aircraft or physicians. The aircraft are obtained from the ALCC and the physicians are at the origination and destination facilities. Therefore, it is vital that all patients be as stable as possible when they arrive at the MASF. Figure 9-3 shows request procedures for aeromedical evacuation via Air Force aircraft.


As with any combat operation, an airborne assault and the subsequent operations phase will produce PWs, captured materiel of the enemy, and damaged materiel both friendly and enemy. Plans must be made to handle these potential circumstances with limited physical battlefield clutter, to recover equipment for rehabilitation and reissue, and to process enemy PWs to minimize their effect on friendly operations.

a. Prisoners of War. Prisoners of war are captured and tagged with identifying information; then, they are evacuated from the objective area as directed by the airborne commander IAW instructions from higher headquarters. They are evacuated to designated facilities within the departure area. The Army processes, stages, and provides guards for the evacuation. Prisoner of war collection points are near airlanding facilities to ease air evacuation.

b. Captured Materiel. Captured materiel to be evacuated by air are designated, processed, and prepared for air movement by the Army IAW instructions from higher headquarters. An appropriate notation on the manifest informs the airlift unit of the classification, designation, and destination of materiel to be evacuated.


Other personnel support system functions include the following:

  • Personnel actions.
  • Personnel records.
  • Administrative services.
  • Chaplain activities.
  • Legal services.
  • Finance services.
  • Morale support activities.
  • Public affairs.
  • Postal services.

(See FM 12-6 for more detailed information.)

a. Personnel Actions. Intense combat greatly reduces the processing of personnel actions. Therefore, actions that do not seriously affect morale receive a lower priority. Authority to process personnel actions is decentralized to the lowest organizational level consistent with effective management, but not so low that an unnecessary or unwanted administrative burden is placed on that level.

b. Personnel Records. Only the minimum individual personnel records required to support personnel services are kept within the theater. These records are maintained as far to the rear as possible, consistent with their use, and no further forward than division rear or separate brigade (regiment) rear. During contingency operations, personnel records are maintained in CONUS.

c. Administrative Services. The administrative services office of the G1 section provides only essential round-the-clock administrative services to the TOC and to the division main CP during combat operations.

d. Chaplain Activities. While the unit's religious program is under the authority of the unit commander, the chaplain is the commander's special staff officer responsible for implementing the program. He ensures personnel can freely exercise their religion. Unit chaplains perform and coordinate worship services, rites, sacraments, and religious observances. They give particular attention to providing religious services before deployment. The chaplain is also a personnel staff officer with direct access to the commander. (See FM 16-1 for more information.)

e. Legal Services. Legal services are provided to commanders and soldiers of the division by the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. The judge advocate provides legal advice and assistance on all matters involving military, domestic, foreign, and international law and regulations. The staff judge advocate also supervises the administration of military justice, processes claims for and against the government, and furnishes legal assistance to authorized personnel. (See AR 210-1 and AR 210-10 for more information.)

f. Financial Services. Personnel deploying on an airborne operation will undergo processing for overseas replacement; any required pay documents will be completed at that time. Soldiers will be given the opportunity to buy invasion currency, if appropriate. Combat payments will also be offered, subject to the commander's approval. (See FM 14-7 for complete details of finance operations in a combat zone.)

g. Morale Support Activities. Morale, welfare, and recreation are the responsibility of the tactical force commander, but they depend on support from the rear support areas. The division G1 and brigade/battalion S1s are responsible for requesting external support from the corps/TAACOM.

h. Public Affairs. Commanders can expect a great deal of media interest in their activities as they prepare to deploy and conduct parachute operations. Deploying units should coordinate with the PAO to obtain information for briefings on soldier's responsibilities and rights when dealing with representatives from the media.

i. Postal Services. Outgoing mail is ordinarily suspended several days before the operation for security reasons. However, this fact need not be publicized. Because of the critical status of air transportation, incoming mail is usually suspended during the initial stage of airborne operations. Once the airhead is established, postal operations are located in the DSA and are composed primarily of mail-handling activities. Battalion mail clerks deliver outgoing mail to the postal section, and pick up incoming mail for delivery to soldiers assigned to their units. Unit mail clerks are responsible for the delivery of mail to each soldier. (See FM 12-6 for more information.)


The G5/S5, if assigned, plans for civil affairs operations in the airhead. If the commander does not assign a G5/S5, the S1 assumes this role. During airborne operations, the airborne force cannot provide substantial care and assistance to the local populace beyond minimum needs. (See FM 41-10 for more information.) Civil affairs support includes civilian protection and control, labor, and equipment.

a. Civilian Protection and Control. Civil affairs takes population control measures, evacuates civilians from high-risk or sensitive areas, or relocates civilians from the airhead. This prevents congestion and provides space for military operations facilities.

b. Civilian Labor. Civil affairs identifies and locates civilians to work within the airhead. Civilian labor can handle supplies; construct airfields, field fortifications, and obstacles; and clear fields of fire. (See AR 210-10 for restrictions.)

c. Civilian Equipment. Civil affairs identifies and locates civilian equipment that can be used to support the airborne force. Key items include vehicles, construction equipment, and materiels-handling equipment.

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