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Pre-Combat Checks/Pre-Combat Inspections (PCC/PCI)
by SFC Edward Bruning

"Soldiers don't do what you expect, they do what you inspect."
--Unknown

ISSUES:

1. Leaders seldom conduct pre-combat checks (PCCs) or pre-combat inspections (PCIs) properly. PCCs are often treated more like an inventory instead of a check to ensure that all the equipment is ready for the mission.

2. When leaders do look at some of the equipment to be used for a mission and find a discrepancy, they seldom make corrections.

3. There is some confusion as to the difference between a PCC and a PCI.

DISCUSSION:

1. PCCs and PCIs must always include all equipment used for the mission. If deficiencies are found, they must be corrected. What good does it do to verify that the equipment is not ready for a mission? The following scenarios are observed at almost every offensive battle:

  • There is the formality of laying out the lane marking material. The bright red panels are propped up next to the side of the squad track and remain there for hours, never unrolled or cross-leveled throughout the platoon or company. They are there to show that "PCCs are being done"--but are they, really?

  • When (if) demolitions are checked, branch line lengths are seldom checked after the demolitions have been primed. Later at the breach site, a tug of war begins as soldiers fight each other for the line main. Charges will not reach far enough on either side of the line main to reach all the mines that need to be destroyed to open the lane.

2. What is a PCC and what is a PCI?

a. Both are intended to accomplish the same thing, which is to have a leader ensure that certain mission critical pieces of equipment are ready. The only real difference is who is doing the inspecting.

b. Commanders do PCIs. Platoon leaders, platoon sergeants, and squad leaders do PCCs.

c. Why do we identify a commander's inspection separately? Equipment readiness is essential for mission success. Squad leaders and platoon leaders are certainly capable of ensuring equipment readiness, but the commander's first-hand knowledge of mission requirements cannot be substituted.

RECOMMENDATION: Reference FM 5-10, Combat Engineer Platoon. Units need to have a standard PCC/PCI checklist. It should be included in the tactical standard operating procedures (TACSOP) and issued to all leaders. It should include daily checks and checks that are more mission specific. It does not need to be extremely detailed; a list of items to check and the leader's knowledge of the equipment and the appropriate manuals should suffice. The PCC checklist provided below is a good example for units to modify, as appropriate, for their own TACSOP.


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