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101-515-1999 (SL1) - Recover Isolated Remains

Standards: Remains were recovered according to JP 4-06.

Conditions: In a tactical situation, given a message prepared at higher headquarters listing the search area and number of remains, standard scale military map, compass, grid coordinate scale (protractor), writing paper, pen or pencil, grid location of the remains, transport vehicle, and communications equipment.

Standards: Remains were recovered according to JP 4-06.

Performance Steps

1.   Prepare to move to recovery site.

a. Obtain all information concerning the incident from team leader.

b. Perform PMCS on vehicle(s) and equipment prior to loading.

c. Load vehicle according to the load plan.

d. Perform a map reconnaissance of the route.

e. Plot the grid azimuth to the recovery site from your assembly area on the military map to within one degree of accuracy using a global positioning system, if available.

f.  Convert grid azimuth to a magnetic azimuth.

2.   Move to recovery site.

3.   Search for remains during daylight only.

a. Question local inhabitants about locations of gravesites and/or incidents concerning the loss of American service members.

b. Follow a systematic search pattern.

(1)  Open formation.  An open formation places each member side by side on a line at a double-arm interval.

Note.  This formation allows team members to thoroughly cover a large area.  Use the open formation in open areas or areas with sparse vegetation where visibility is good.

(2)  Closed formation.  A closed formation is much closer together.  This formation places each member on line side by side at a close-arm interval.

Note.  Use this formation in areas where the visibility is obstructed or limited due to dense vegetation or other terrain features.

c. Mark the location of all remains with stake and streamer.

Note.  The other team members continue just past the marked location and stop. When the location has been marked, the personnel marking the location rejoin the main line of searchers and the sweep continues.  Mark all remains in similar manner.  Continue with this process until entire area is searched.

d. Search places that may have been used by troops as shelter, concealment, or cover.

(1)  Search any unusual ground disturbances that may indicate sites of emergency burial, collapsed bunkers, or fighting positions.

(2)  Search and investigate unusual odors, congregation of insects, scavenger birds, or animals.

Note.  Safety and sanitation factors should be considered.  Diseases can easily be transmitted through body fluids from the remains to individuals handling the remains. Units should provide recovery personnel with gloves and protective clothing before the mission, and adequate washing facilities after the mission.

4.   Recover the remains.

a. Establish tentative identification by reviewing identification tags, wallets, clothing, and equipment markings.

Note.  Do not separate identification media from remains.

b. Interview unit personnel regarding possible visual identification of remains.

c. Secure personal effects and identification media to the remains.

Note.  Attempt to safeguard identification media found on the remains from destruction by body fluids, weather conditions, and other environmental conditions. This may be done by storing the items in a waterproof zip lock bag or by wrapping the items in a dry article of clothing.

d. Record the believed name of the deceased, unit, and grid coordinates (or unidentified if unknown) on a blank piece of paper.

e. Attach military equipment, to include serially numbered weapons, and compasses to the remains and forward with the remains.

Note.  Ensure rifles and pistols are unloaded and do not pose a danger to the recovery team.

f.  Search the area surrounding the remains for loose personal effects, equipment, and fragmented remains.

Note.  In cases where remains are fragmented, attempt to recover as much of the remains as possible. Make every attempt to recover hands, individual fingers, teeth and dental appliance (dentures, bridges, etc.).  No piece or portion is considered too small. DNA testing may make it possible to make positive identification based on body tissue, dentition, hair samples, and other items.

g. Tag each individual portion for evacuation.

Note.  Do not attempt to associate any unassociated portions (such as a hand, arm, leg, fingers, or loose teeth) found to a particular remains.

h. Place personal effects found near the remains in a separate container or personal effects bag.

Note. Personal effects found in the vicinity of the remains are considered to be unassociated personal effects.

i.   Make a sketch of the recovery site, identifying any major points of reference to determine the exact recovery site location for the remains.

(1)  Use grid coordinates to pinpoint location.

(2)  Show distance from any prominent landmarks in the vicinity to the grave(s).

j.   Shroud the remains.

k. Place the remains on a litter.

l.   Inform team leader that the remains are prepared for evacuation.


Performance Measures



1.   Prepared to move to recovery site.



a. Performed PMCS on vehicle(s) and equipment prior to loading.



b. Loaded vehicle according to the load plan.



c. Performed a map reconnaissance of the route.



d. Plotted grid azimuth on the military map to the recovery site from assembly area.



e. Converted grid azimuth to a magnetic azimuth.



2.   Moved to recovery site.



3.   Searched for remains according to JP 4-06.



a. Questioned local inhabitants.



b. Followed a systematic search pattern.



4.   Recovered remains according to JP 4-06.



a. Recorded tentative identification data on a blank piece of paper.



b. Secured personal effects and ID media to remains.



c. Recorded grid coordinates of recovery.



d. Shrouded remains.



Evaluation Guidance:  Score the soldier GO if all performance measures are passed. Score the soldier NO GO if any performance measure is failed. If the soldier scores NO GO, show him what was done wrong and how to do it correctly.






JP 4-06

FM 3-25.26