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Leaders, have you ever heard one of your Soldiers say, “The last bullet is for … me?” Maybe they have a grenade saved for themselves so they “won’t be captured alive.” Such predetermined behavior is self-defeating and will leave your Soldiers unprepared for the challenges they’ll encounter should they become isolated personnel (IP) who are “separated from their unit, as an individual or a group” and they “must survive, evade, resist, or escape.” (1) This mindset results from a lack of understanding of personnel recovery (PR) throughout much of the Army, outside of Special Operations or Aviation. While current PR that is joint programs have actually roots in the Air Force, operations post-9/11 have demonstrated the need for and development of comparable programs into the Army. Unfortuitously, in several devices PR comprises of checking the box on Survival, Evasion, opposition, and Escape (SERE) training online and completing isolated personnel reports (ISOPREPs) prior to deployment. At the brigade combat team (BCT) level and below, PR can be relegated to the world of the brigade aviation element, with small awareness among most leaders of the crucial capabilities available in the Army’s PR program.
What is Personnel Recovery?
Army PR is “the sum of army, diplomatic, and civil efforts to influence the recovery and reunite of U.S. army, (Department of Defense) DOD civilians and DOD contractor workers … who’re isolated workers in an environment that is operational” according to Army Regulation (AR) 350-1, Army Training and Leader Development. Military efforts begin with education and training such as SERE Level C training, the use of isolated Soldier guidance (ISG) and an evasion plan of action (EPA), along with the fielding of PR equipment such as the Combat Survivor Evader Locator (CSEL) radio and evasion maps (EVCs). As soon as isolated, Soldiers return to control that is friendly the execution associated with the five PR tasks–report, find, support, recuperate, and reintegrate–which are carried out by internet protocol address, units, and workers data recovery coordination cells (PRCC) according to the detailed PR plan within Appendix 2 (Personnel Recovery) to Annex E (Protection).

Than it initially appears while you may have never heard of the five PR tasks, developed an EPA, or even seen an EVC, small units in the Army do PR far better. For example, look at your last land navigation course training. Keep in mind the briefing before you start the course where the trainer gave you a panic azimuth and instructions for what to do if you were lost, injured, or ran out of time? That brief that is short the use of PR principles. That trainer just issued ISG! When was the final time you provided a five-point contingency plan? That’s right, isolated Soldier guidance once again! ISG provides Soldiers awareness, accountability, quick reporting, and actions to take when isolated. Consider some principles of patrolling: headcounts, rally points, route preparation and checkpoints, battle monitoring into the tactical operations center (TOC), and utilization of tactical operating that is standard (TACSOPs). All those things help to prepare and plan isolation and recovery, therefore fulfilling this is of workers data recovery. The issue is these unit that is small, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) are often not tied into the larger PR structure. Simply put, there is no linkage between the contingency that is five-point plus the five PR tasks. While small device actions and TTPs resolve many PR events so quickly that no body ever realizes they existed or acknowledges them as PR events, there may be a tremendous gap between those small unit TTPs and the dedicated PR structure. That gap endangers Infantrymen working in small units in austere conditions such as snipers, advisors participating in security force assistance missions, or any unit that could have a break in contact during a patrol. Units can close that gap through the application that is tactical of.
The PR Process
Personnel recovery is dependant on the accomplishment associated with five PR tasks: report, find, support, recuperate, and reintegrate. Central to PR is accountability of all DOD workers to add personnel that are military government civilians, and contractors. Upon realizing that any personnel may be isolated, the task that is first to report through normal operational command stations from the battalion TOC towards the brigade personnel recovery officer (PRO) to division and corps PRCCs. Anyone who knows of or suspects an individual has become separated should instantly report the event. Reports do not have to result from the isolated person’s own unit. Knowledge of the event that is isolating originate from having witnessed the big event, be circumstantial such as for example no communication with a patrol that missed the expected return time, or from cleverness sources. Once reported, the Army, acting since the land component, will use many different assets to validate the isolating event and gather information.

The first effort is to locate, confirm the identity of, and continue to track the whereabouts of the IP through recovery after the report of an isolating event. Information can come from the IP, observers to the isolating event, and all resources of intelligence. Whenever triggered, the PR framework has tremendous capabilities and assets to discover then offer the isolated personnel. Once located, both the IP, and his next of kin require support to increase the possibility of a recovery that is successful. The internet protocol address might be supported through efforts to provide equipment that is needed establish communications, provide intelligence, or raise morale. Support to the next of kin goes beyond normal casualty assistance and includes, for example, general public affairs help to lessen the possibility that responses or information produced by the following of kin might be used to damage or to exploit the IP.
The U.S federal government uses army, diplomatic, and civil options to recover isolated personnel. Army doctrine identifies four methods that are military execute the data recovery task: instant, deliberate, externally supported., and unassisted. Considering that the IP’s unit often has the best situational awareness, that unit may conduct an immediate recovery before the enemy understands the situation. An recovery that is immediate very small, if any, preparation and is the preferred approach to recovery. Whenever a sudden data recovery fails or is impossible, commanders can plan a deliberate data recovery making use of an existing operations planning process. As the land component, the Army is required to conduct its own recovery operations and does so 95 percent of the time; however, if required due to lack of capabilities, there is the option of an externally supported recovery, which utilizes joint, coalition, or host nation assets. Finally, there is unassisted recovery, in which the IP comes back to friendly control without a formal recovery operation by performing an effective evasion, which “is usually a contingency used if data recovery forces cannot (min access to the isolated individual.” (2)
The PR process continues after data recovery aided by the post-isolation reintegration procedure, which occurs in three phases. The purpose of this method would be to reunite isolated workers to responsibility with physical and emotional fitness while conducting intelligence and SERE debriefs. These debriefs can provide a amount that is tremendous of intelligence also identify changes that may be required in functional procedures and training programs. The reintegration process is important to the well-being that is long-term of returnee. The process that is overall tailored towards the experience and condition for the returnee so a quick duration isolating event may only require a debriefing at the phase one center, which can be forward situated within the theater of operations. In the other hand, somebody who encountered a time period of captivity or serious injury would need a longer reintegration and go through a phase two center, such as Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, before finishing the procedure at the Army’s phase three center located at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Connecting Product TTPs to Five PR Tasks
The Army Personnel Recovery Program, established in AR 52528, is “designed to prevent or reduce any strategic advantage our enemies may gain due to a tactical event involving the isolation of Army personnel” through the “seamless integration of PR policies and doctrine” into Army operations. While PR is a very broad heading, unit commanders can straight link their device TTPs towards the achievement for the five PR tasks through the inclusion of ISG and EPA into mission planning. ISG and EPAs synchronize actions between commanders, data recovery forces, and internet protocol address; this facilitates data recovery by giving them objectives for the other’s actions.
ISG is the endstate of top-down PR guidance and provides Soldiers the data needed to provide understanding, accountability, quick reporting, and guidance for actions following an event that is isolating.
At the ongoing company and platoon levels, leaders develop ISG based upon PR guidance from higher headquarters and tailor it to the unit’s operational environment. While there is not a set format, ISG must provide an easy-to-understand plan of what to do as soon as isolated that is famous by all people of a unit. The five-point contingency plan is a simple application of the principles of ISG already in common use at the small unit level though lacking the details of a complete ISG
In which the leader is certainly going
Other people he’s taking with him
Time he plans become gone
How to proceed in the event that frontrunner will not return over time
Actions by the unit in the event contact is manufactured even though the frontrunner is gone. (3)
ISG creates awareness by developing isolation criteria that address the conditions by which Soldiers should consider themselves isolated. These conditions are easier to determine for many kinds of devices than the others. As an example, if the helicopter is on a lawn and that can not any longer fly, then a pilot is most likely wise to give consideration to himself isolated. But also for an Infantry device whose mission is always to shut with and destroy the enemy, the line between poor situation that is tactical isolating event remains murky. Isolation criteria provide clarity to those situations and aid a Soldier in determining when to take action. In general, when a Soldier or group of Soldiers can no longer complete their intended mission and must instead turn their give attention to success or evading capture, chances are they should give consideration to themselves isolated.
ISG stresses accountability by obviously outlining the processes and procedures for leaders to take into account and track the whereabouts of all Soldiers. ISG should not burden units with additional demands but alternatively is most effective when TTPs that are using used by the unit such as headcounts prior to movements and daily personnel status reports. Soldiers achieve rapid reporting by having an understanding of what an event that is isolating and exactly how it ought to be reported. An isolated Soldier must take action to effect his own recovery by attempting to contact the unit. Soldiers may use a variety of communication or methods that are signaling like those already included as part of the main, alternative, contingency, and emergency (SPEED) plans in the unit’s SOP. Commonly available practices include VHF/UHF/HF/satellite tactical radios, Blue Force Tracker, VS-17 panels, smoke grenades, star groups, and lights that are strobe. While somewhat unknown outside the field of PR, units can get training on the use of personal locator beacons (PLBs) and employment of visual signaling methods to create a ground-to-air signal (GTAS). Regardless of method, ISG must reflect an understanding of capabilities and increase understanding of all assets available, such as for example the “sheriff’s internet,” the guard frequency and typical traffic advisory regularity (CTAF) monitored by all aircraft, or the crisis beacon in the multiband inter/intra team radio (MBITR), to speed up the report and locate tasks.
ISG must provide easy, easy-to-remember directions which will help “Soldiers feel more confident in hard circumstances simply because they already have a plan” of actions to simply take. (4) Once again, existing TTPs and SOPs will be the best solutions to utilize as ISG since Soldiers understand those practices. Making use of rally points, defined in the Ranger Handbook as “a location designated by the leader in which the product moves to reassemble and reorganize if it becomes dispersed,” is a simple way of providing a plan for actions isolation that is following. In order to properly use rally points, the handbook states that Soldiers “must know which rally point to move to at each phase … [and] … what actions are required there.”
Finally, an Soldier that is isolated must link-up with friendly forces. The link-up is difficult and dangerous, especially when the recovery element is from a different unit, service, or country. ISG decreases the chance by establishing protocols such as designated near/tsar recognition signals known to both the separated Soldier and the data recovery element.
During missions with a better danger of isolation, Soldiers or units go beyond ISG to produce an EPA. This improves their likelihood of effective recovery by providing information about their mission and intended actions following an isolating event. Unlike ISG, an EPA is a bottom-up document that is made by the Soldier or small product, then sent up the chain of command to determine the supportability of the plan and for safe-keeping. EPAs are traditionally used by aviators or Special Operations Forces (SOF), but the majority of infantry that is common have sufficient risk to justify the effort to develop an EPA. Unit size has an inverse relationship to risk of isolation so elements working in a team that is small as scouts, snipers, consultant teams, or other fire team to squad-sized missions is very carefully reviewed for threat of isolation. Even bigger elements based in a patrol that is remote, combat outpost, or joint protection section may prefer to develop an EPA due to their distance from supporting elements.
EPAs must be tailored to each mission and updated when conditions modification. The more accurate an EPA is, the higher the opportunity of a recovery. The EPA format will change based on guidance from theater and unit PR SOPs, operation orders (OPORDs), and commander’s guidance. An example EPA format from Appendix B, FM 3-50.1, Army Personnel Recovery, provides a baseline of information contained in an EPA. Much of the information is already for sale in ideas of operations (CONOPs)/OPORDs, trip seats manifests, and product SOPs (age.g. signaling). An EPA consolidates that given information, along side integrated specific PR actions, into one document to speed up information flow to a recovery force throughout the accomplishment associated with locate, support, and recovery tasks.
PR Training
As a part of planning to be able to effectively use ISG and EPAs, Soldiers and leaders must have the appropriate level of training. The baseline for PR training is Army PR (ARPR) 101: Intro to Personnel Recovery Concepts, which is an AR 350-1 training requirement that is annual. Those principles are further explained in ARPR 202: Commanders and Staff Responsibilities as well as in SERE training. The cornerstone for all SERE training is the Code of Conduct. Created in 1955 by Executive Order 10631 as a reply towards the conditions experienced by prisoners of war (POW) in Korea, the Code of Conduct offers the framework to guide those things of most service, members who find themselves isolated. In six articles, the Code of Conduct provides basic information and guidance for situations that all Soldiers could encounter. A Soldier’s amount of training will differ and it is commensurate with all the danger of isolation, capture, or exploitation, that is spelled away in DOD Instruction (DODI) 1300.21.
SERE degree A (SERE-A) is the “minimum level of understanding for all members associated with the armed forces,” (5) and is usually a command that is combatantCOCOM) theater entry requirement. The Army’s SERE-A program consists of two interactive media instruction (IMI) courses: Army SERE 102: Survival & Evasion basics Course and Army SERE 103: Resistance & Escape Fundamentals Course. Within the term that is short Soldiers should complete ARPR 101C in lieu of SERE 103 until the new version of SERE 103 is released. These courses, along with ARPR 10.1 and ARPR 202, are available on the Army Learning Management System (ALMS), the. Army Training Network (ATN), or DVD format from Defense Imagery. Also, the Army Personnel Recovery Proponent Office (PRPO) at the Combined Arms Center offers training support packages (TSP) with PowerPoint slides for unit-level training in host to the ARPR 101, ARPR 202, SERE 102, and SERE 103 IMI courses. In order to conduct SERE-A training, teachers need completed SERE 102/103 IMI in the past year, finished an Army SERE-C program, and completed either ARPR 202 or the Aviation Mission Survivability Officer (TACOPS) PR course. Contact the PRPO for further information on the TSPs:
Deploying devices frequently encounter confusion between your Army’s SERE-A program, the SERE 100.1 computer-based training (CBT) on Joint Knowledge Online (JKO), and COCOM-specific programs such as the Central Command (CENTCOM) High. Risk of Isolation (HRI) Briefing. Prior to a deployment, units should review AR 350-1 and COCOM requirements in order to utilize the appropriate training course.
SERE degree B is for Soldiers with a “moderate risk of capture and exploitation” and expands upon Level A training. (6) The Army have not had a SERE-B ability considering that the U.S. Army SERE class at Fort Rucker, Ala., became a SERE Level C system in 2007.
Soldiers “whose military jobs, specialties, or assignments entail a substantial or high-risk of capture and exploitation” require SERE Level C training “at minimum when in their jobs … just them eligible. as they assume duties or responsibilities that make” (7) AR 350-1 states training that is SERE-Cshould really be made available to those people whoever implementation duties will likely need them to work outside of protected operating bases with restricted protection.” It further identifies particular Soldiers, as a minimum, who will get SERE-C training at either the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, N.C., or at the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker. Army SOF will generally attend at Fort Bragg. Personnel eligible to attend at Fort Rucker include snipers, pathfinders, anybody assigned to a reconnaissance squadron, and anyone assigned to a reconnaissance that is long-range surveillance unit. Non-Infantry personnel eligible for SERE-C include aviators and aircrew that is enlisted, counterintelligence or individual intelligence workers participating in collection outside protected bases, and Criminal research Division (CID) agents or Military Police Soldiers conducting investigations outside secure bases. Additionally, AR 350-1 states that any Soldier based upon “assignment, painful and sensitive knowledge, and/or risk of isolation, capture, or exploitation” decided by a brigade commander or maybe more is qualified to go to SERE-C. For deploying units, combatant command PR guidance will even designate high-risk workers that has to attend SERE-C as a theater-entry requirement. The SERE school at Fort Rucker provides SERE-C training for 2,000 pupils per year. Info on attending SERE-C will come in AR 350-1, Army Training demands and Resource System (ATRRS) program 2C-F107/600-F17(CT), or the U.S. Army SERE class AKO web page.
When conducting planning for PR operations (including ISG and EPA development), a key resource is the PRO, who is typically located within the brigade aviation element and, at division and higher headquarters, in the PRCC. Army publications include AR 525-28; FM 3.50-1; FM 3-05.7, Survival; and GTA 80-01003, Survival, Evasion, and Recovery. For Forces Command (FORSCOM) units, the FORSCOM PR office is an important resource: The Joint Personnel Recovery Agency offers IPG that is country-specific well as information about PR tools such as blood chits, EVCs, and PLBs on its non-classified and secure websites. While deployed, the PR Special Instructions (SPINS) located in the air tasking order (ATO) provide theater assistance with PR assets, communications, and authentication information. The PR SPINS can be found in the interne that is secure best long range router (SIPR) in the ATO, nonetheless it can be simpler to get a copy from an Army Aviation device or your assigned, joint terminal attack controller (JTAC).
What we as Infantrymen do as a matter of SOP within our companies works for our devices. Nevertheless the incompatibility of unit TTPs with the inputs that are required the PR system can hinder the activation and utilization of national capabilities in the event one of our Soldiers becomes isolated. By utilizing ISG and developing EPAs, we are able to link into PR assets and aid in the success associated with five PR tasks. Making use of ISG or EPA does not absolve commanders from the duty to anticipate to conduct a sudden recovery, which will be probably be the method that is quickest to return isolated Soldiers to friendly forces. Rather, their usage opens the door to the existing PR architecture, which increases the chances of a successful recovery.
RELATED ARTICLE: Example Evasion Plan of Action
1. Identification information includes:
a. Name, rank, social protection quantity or service quantity, and responsibility place of unit people.
b. Mission number, unit, date, and aircraft, vehicle, or convoy call sign or identifier.
2. Planned path of travel and waypoints information includes:
a. Direction of travel, path points, distance, and going.
b. Evasion plans for each an element of the journey or task.
3. Immediate evasion actions you need to take for initial 48 hours if uninjured include:
a. Actions for hiding near the aircraft or vehicle.
b. Rally points.
c. Travel plans including distance, speed, and time.
d. meant actions and amount of stay at initial hiding location.
4. Immediate evasion actions to be taken if injured include:
a. Hiding motives.
b. Evasion intentions.
c. Travel intentions.
d. Intended actions at hiding locations.
5. Extended evasion actions to be taken after 48 hours include:
a. Destination (such as recovery area, mountain range, coast, border, or forces that are friendly).
b. Travel routes, plans, and techniques (either written or drawn).
C. Actions and intentions at potential recovery or contact areas.
D. Recovery contact point signals, signs, and procedures ( drawn or written).
age. Back-up plans, if any, for the above mentioned.
6. Communications and authentication information includes:
a. Duress term, quantity, color, or page of this time, month, or quarter, or other current authentication codes.
b. Available communications and signaling devices: type and level of radios, programmed frequencies, encryption rule, volume of batteries, type and volume of flares, beacons, mirrors, strobe lights, other.
c. Primary communication schedule, procedures, and frequencies (initial and contact that is extended).
d. Backup communication schedule. procedures, and frequencies.
7. Other useful information includes:
a. Survival, evasion, opposition, and previously escape training completed.
b. Weapons and ammo.
c. Personal evasion kit products.
d. Listing of issued signaling, success, and evasion kit items.
e. Mission evasion planning list.
f. Clothing, footwear size, and resupply products.
g. Signature of reviewing official.
8. Supplementary information includes anything contributing to the location and recovery of isolated people.
(1.) Joint Publication 3-50, Personnel Recovery, January 2007, 274.
(2 FM that is.) 3-05.231 Special Forces Personnel Recovery, 2001, 1-1 june.
(3.) Student Handbook 21-76, Ranger Handbook, 2011, 7-4 february.
(4.) FM. 3-50.1, Army Personnel Healing, November 2011, 1-11.
(5.) DODI 1300.21, 2001 january
(6.) Ibid.
(7.) Ibid.
MAJ Nicholas Falcetto happens to be serving during the Personnel healing Proponent Office at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He formerly served because the executive officer of the U.S. Army SERE School at Fort Rucker, Ala. Other previous assignments including serving with units in the 82nd Airborne Division and Cavalry that is 1st Division. He’s a 2003 graduate associated with the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and received a bachelor’s level in mechanical engineering.