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Combat Service Support in Desert Operations

A unit’s tactical effectiveness in the desert depends to a large degree on the combat service support available

There is a lack of every kind of resource in the desert, especially of the sophisticated infrastructure of ports and railways for their high capacity for moving combat supplies. Logistical support is always a challenge, and an arid environment burdens all types-supply, aviation, communications, and maintenance. Commanders must be sensitive to the constraints, and those providing support must work to overcome them. A unit’s tactical effectiveness in the desert depends to a large degree on the combat service support available. Equally, its vulnerability lies in its exposed lines of communications and the immobility of its bases of supply and support.

Inherent to the success of any tactical operation is continuous, sound, logistical planning for adequate supply, medical, and maintenance support. This is especially important in the desert because the greater distances used in maneuver and deployment complicate supply procedures. Other reasons are the shortage of locally available water and the increased maintenance requirements due to sand and dust damage. The effects of the environment on equipment are severe, requiring increased levels of support to maintain a standard level of efficiency. The extended supply lines required for expanded frontages call for special considerations and procedures to ensure adequate and timely supplies arrive to sustain combat in the desert.

US forces in the desert operate at the end of a long, perhaps tenuous line of communication. Cargo space must not be wasted to provide all the comforts of home. A significant difference in living standards between rear area support personnel and those in forward combat areas must be avoided since this can affect morale and weaken the ability of combat units to resist psychological warfare. Transportation priority must be given to minimum essential materials and the support base should be austere.

Section I. Base Development Plan

US forces deploying for operations in a desert environment should expect to begin operations from a lodgement area. When this is the case, it is necessary for the headquarters deploying the force to prepare a detailed base development plan. How the plan is developed will depend on a number of factors that are described below:

  • The mission and size of the force. The size of the force depends on its mission and the operations it is expected to conduct. The size of US forces deployed for desert operations could vary from a small force conducting a show of force, to a joint task force capable of full-scale operations.
  • Security of the lodgement area. A lodgement area will probably be secured by allied forces or US Marines before deployment of US Army forces into the operational area. However, it may be necessary to use US Army forces, either air-dropped or air-landed, to secure a lodgement area.
  • Transportation of US forces into the lodgement area. It is probable that initial forces will be transported by air and follow-on forces by sea. Another possibility is that initial forces will be transported by sea with follow-on personnel being transported by air.
  • Strategic lines of communication (LOC). The initial strategic LOC will probably be an air LOC. However, at some point in the operation a sea LOC will be established to convey the bulk of the supplies, supplemented by an air LOC to haul time-sensitive items.
  • Theater lines of communication. Lines of communication within the operations area should be analyzed before selecting the lodgement area. The analysis should include ports available, airfields throughout the operational area, road nets, and railroads. It may be necessary to stage engineer construction units into the operational area early to improve existing facilities and LOCs or to construct new ones. In a single or multi-corps theater, a theater army headquarters provides overall management of CSS operations. It establishes priorities, assigns missions, and allocates resources in accordance with the theater army commander’s concept of operations.
  • Local resources. These are extremely important as they will affect logistics planning. Typical information about resources in the operational area that should be obtained before base development planning includes–

      -Water sources.

      -Fresh rations.

      -Labor supply.

      -Construction materials and available equipment.

      -Material-handling equipment at ports and airfields.

      -Local hospitals, maintenance capability, and storage sites.

      -Local power supply to include types and equipment.

      -Railroad rolling stock and gauge of tracks in local areas.

After consideration of the factors listed above, the lodgement area is selected Ideally, a lodgement area should have a deep water port and airfield suitable for heavy strategic airlift, located at the end of an adequate road or rail system suitable for an intratheater LOC. Once the lodgement area has been selected, then LOC-port units can be specially tailored for early deployment to the operational area.

Section II. Theater Support


Should a friendly nation ask for military assistance either following an invasion or in anticipation of one, the first combative units to arrive in the theater will probably be a force designed to secure entry points. The assembly and movement of armor and mechanized forces will take time, time that the logistics staffs can put to good use preparing for the reception of these forces. Elements of the theater staff can assess the assets and facilities available in the following areas and make an estimate of the work, labor, equipment, and other resources required to support the buildup of the force.

Logistics Reconnaissance

Port capacity, cranes and off-loading equipment, storage facilities, the availability of stevedores, and local shipping assets at the main port facilities should be determined. Contract and requisition of host nation support assets can be arranged by initial theater staff personnel. The theater staff should also determine airfield facilities and capacities that are available. Railway assets that can be made available for logistics support and the movement of troops should also be determined.

Local Resources

The host nation in a Middle Eastern theater will probably be an oil producer and may be able to provide the bulk of our fuel requirements. However, if the host nation exports its oil in bulk crude, it may have only a limited refinery capacity to meet a local domestic demand for diesel, kerosene, high-octane fuel, and lubricants.

Fresh Rations

The host nation may be able to produce a limited supply of fresh rations but the bulk may have to be imported from neighboring countries. If there is arable land within the host nation, it may be possible to start farms to relieve the burden on the local economy and on that of neighboring friendly states.


The extent to which hospitals in the host nation can accept long-term patients until our own base hospitals can be established is also an issue of concern.

Power Supply

The share of the host nation’s electric power supplies which can be offered to our forces must be determined. Initially, there is unlikely to be any shortage in power supply, but as a large force (including other allies) builds up there maybe a generating capacity problem. At the beginning of the campaign the difficulty may be in distributing electricity where it is required throughout the theater. It may be necessary to construct overhead or underground cables together with transformers.

Transient Camps

Sites should be located for transient camps for troops arriving in the theater and convalescent camps for the recovery of the sick and wounded.

Local Currency

Local currency may also be required for extended operations, both to pay troops and to locally purchase supplies.


Maps are a critical item that maybe more readily available through local survey teams or oil companies.


Interpreters will be required to communicate with the host-nation troops, contractors, and labor forces.


Higher stock levels are required in the desert due to the following factors: use of the limited life of many perishable items in a harsh environment; the enormous distances stockpiles must be lifted and over inadequate transport systems; the loss of supplies due to sudden changes in the fortunes of war, and the time it takes to replace items from the US. The levels of each commodity to be held in theater and the proportion of the totals will be decided during the staff planning process. The distribution will depend on the tactical situation and the vulnerability of the lines of communication to enemy action.

Expenditure Rates

While the requirement for rations and water remain relatively constant, the expenditure of fuel and ammunition will vary far more, not just because of the fluctuation between quiet periods and intense operations, but because of the environment. The amount of driving in soft sand and the longer distances to be traversed combine to increase consumption beyond central European rates. Similarly, the expenditure of tank and artillery ammunition may be increased because of the open terrain.

Host-Nation Support

In a desert environment where resources, CSS personnel, and equipment are limited, the use of host-nation support assets can be vital to the success of an operation. Host-nation support assists in the accomplishment of missions and functions in support of US forces and enhances their capability to perform their wartime role.

All forms of peacetime transition to wartime, and wartime host-nation support should be included in the planning process.

Host-nation support includes-

  • Government agency support such as police, fire companies, and border patrols, may be available to support US forces.
  • Contractor support such as supplies and services, including laundry, bath, bakery, transportation, labor, and construction.
  • Host-nation civilians may be able to provide needed skills for laborers, stevedores, truck drivers, managers, and technicians.
  • Host-nation military units may provide traffic control, convoy escort, installation security, cargo and troop transport, POL storage and distribution, and rear operations.
  • Host-nation facilities may be contracted and used for hospitals, headquarters, billets, maintenance shops, or other activities.
  • Functional or area support maybe provided in the form of rail operations, convoy scheduling, air traffic control, and harbor pilot services.
  • Services may be provided by the host nation for gymnasiums, recreation facilities, and other morale and welfare demands.
  • Supplies and equipment needed for missions may be acquired locally, precluding or reducing materiel shipments from CONUS.

Section III. Corps Support Command

An Army corps support command (COSCOM) deploying to support desert operations must be carefully tailored to meet the needs of combat forces operating in a harsh environment. Requirements for long-haul truck companies, engineer construction battalions, water production units, and LOC-port units previously described, must be carefully weighed. A shortfall of these units could significantly impair combat operations. Organization of the COSCOM should be planned based on the factors described in the previous paragraphs, with particular attention given to–

  • Number of troops to be supported.
  • Quantity and types of equipment to be maintained.
  • Tonnage to be handled.
  • Available local resources and labor force.
  • Types of units to be deployed to the theater of operations.

The organization of the COSCOM and a description of its tasks are provided in FM 63-3. Initial corps forces entering the theater can be supported by a forward support battalion (FSB) of a division support command and a corps support battalion (CSB) of a corps. Once initial forces have arrived in the theater, additional tailored elements from the COSCOM must immediately follow, or even arrive first to minimize the requirement for the DISCOM cooperate such activities as ports or airheads.

Section IV. Division Support Command

As previously mentioned, combat service support units are high-priority targets for any desert enemy. In most cases, Army division support command (DISCOM) units will not be able to provide for their own security, considering the many ways in which they could be attacked. Air defense protection must be provided. It may even be necessary to provide a maneuver unit or additional MP units to secure DISCOM elements. Nearby maneuver units can also be designated to move to their defense-attack helicopters are especially suited for this purpose-and on-call fires should be planned by nearby field artillery units. Any pipelines in the division area must also be secured by any means at hand. Observation helicopters can be used to patrol pipelines.

Stocks should be kept as mobile as possible in the event rapid displacement is necessary. Stockpiling off vehicles must be held to a minimum, as should stockage levels. To the extent practical, supplies located forward of the division support area should be stored aboard vehicles to minimize the Possibility of having to leave them behind. For this purpose, a force operating in the desert should be augmented with additional transportation assets.

DISCOM organizations of the lead divisions in austere and immature theaters may be called upon to establish forward logistic bases. In these situations division assets may have to assume other support or transportation responsibilities temporarily until area support groups can establish support operations and transportation.

Section V. Combat Service Support Element

The Marine Corps’ combat service support element (CSSE) is a task organized service support element of the MAGTF. Its composition is based on many factors, to include–

  • MAGTF size (MEF, MEB, MEU, or SPMAGTF).
  • MAGTF mission.
  • Type of operation.
  • Area of operation.

The considerations listed under Sections III and IV are also true for a CSSE. For more information on CSSE operations, see FM 4-1.

Section VI. Support Operations

Listed below are some of the factors that make support operations complicated.


Consumption rates must often be developed after the force has operated for some time in the area. Water has to be found, purified, stored, and transported.


There will be a greater demand for such items as filters, oils, and lubricants. More Class IX stores are required than normal, and the work load on maintenance units is much greater. Supply items and spare parts should be packed or wrapped as if to be air and water tight to prevent blowing sand from contaminating or damaging them. All echelons that request supplies and repair parts should be using the same or compatible equipment for requisitioning, with alternative means in place as a backup so there is little or no slow down in the reorder process.


It is difficult to conceal trains areas. However, trains areas must be concealed to the best extent possible. These are soft targets in any environment and are high-priority enemy targets as their destruction (especially water, HETTS, and fuel supplies) effectively cripples the force.


Maneuver units may be farther apart, both in width and depth, than in temperate environments. They move more frequently and faster. Lines of communication are longer. Terrain away from the main supply mute (MSR) maybe such that it is only trafficked by cross-country vehicles, and then only with reduced payloads. Lack of significant terrain features may increase navigational problems, requiring local guides.


The commander’s intent and METT-T analysis must dictate the CSS plan to support the tactical mission. However, CSS planners must not become locked into rigid CSS plans. The situation will dictate how trains are configured, echeloned, and controlled. Commanders and their staffs must use a logical and fast means to evaluate the battlefield and reach decisions. The military decision-making process described in FM 101-5 provides the framework within which the commander and staff interact to arrive at and execute a decision. Battlefield support must be planned to satisfy requirements during the following operational phases:

  • Prior to D-day (before).
  • Commitment to battle (during).
  • Future mission (after).

All areas of CSS (man, arm, fuel, fix, move, and protect) must be considered during each operational phase to ensure an integrated, responsive plan of support. Support requirements must be projected and plans developed to satisfy these projected requirements. Supporting CSS plans should be as detailed as planning time permits.

CSS commanders and planners must thoroughly understand the tactical mission and plans and the commander’s intent. They must know-

  • What each of the supported elements will be doing.
  • When they will do it.
  • How they will do it.
  • Where they will do it.
  • What the priority of support is.
  • Density of personnel and equipment being supported.

After analyzing the concept of the operation, CSS commanders and planners must be able to accurately predict support requirements. They must determine-

  • What type of support is required.
  • What quantities of support are required.
  • The operational commander’s priorities, by type and unit.

Using the support requirement of the tactical plan as a base, the support capabilities of the CSS structure are assessed. The staff must determine–

  • What CSS resources are available (organic, lateral, and higher headquarters).
  • Where the CSS resources are.
  • When CSS resources will be available to maneuver units.
  • How the FSB will make these resources available.

Based on this information, the staff must then develop support plans that apply resources against requirements in a manner that results in the most responsive support possible. Communications links must be established and maintained.

Orders that clearly describe tasks to be accomplished must be issued. Continuous follow-up must ensure tasks are being accomplished as planned.

CSS functions should be performed as far forward as the tactical situation and available resources will permit. They should be performed at or close to the site where the weapon system is located to lessen evacuation requirements. Support must be continuous, using immediately available assets. This will involve bringing ammunition, fuels, parts, end items, maintenance personnel, and occasionally replacement crews or individuals, to the forward elements such as battalion field trains, combat trains, and equipment downsites. Planning and execution emphasize the concept of providing support to forces in the forward areas.

CSS planners must know priorities for support. This is necessary to ensure that units with the highest tactical priority receive required support first. The commander and his staff provide mission directives, determine CSS requirements, and establish priorities within the unit.

Section VII. Security of Supply Routes

Long lines of communications require convoys from the support base to the combat forces, and convoys are subject to air attacks (as learned during World War II when convoys from Casablanca to Al Guettar Tunisia, were frequently targeted by Luftwaffe raids), Enemy ambushes on main supply routes (MSR) are always a threat in desert operations. Enemy patrols may also place nuisance mines on routes, especially at critical points such as defiles. Actions must be taken to minimize the threat to supply routes.

The MSR will be considerably longer in the desert. The logistical assets utilizing the MSR are extremely vulnerable and must be protected. It maybe necessary to allocate maneuver forces to maintain an open and relatively safe MSR. This will allow supplies to be pushed forward and casualties to be moved to the rear. Coordination must be accomplished between maneuver elements as to where responsibility will end and begin on the MSR during each phase of an operation. The MSR requires constant patrolling to ensure safest operations and continuance of supplies to the maneuver forces. Marking of the MSR facilitates security. Different techniques for marking MSRs range from chemical lights, to spray paint, to signs. MPs can also position themselves along the MSR to help guide units.

Section VIII. Supply

Time and distance factors developed on different terrain by experience are of little value in the desert. The absence of roads in forward areas, navigation problems, vulnerability of trains and supply installations to attack by ground forces or aircraft, sandstorms, and wide dispersion, all require a different appreciation of time for resupply operations.


Requirements for supplies vary from that of temperate climates according to the classification of supply. Differences that may be expected in any desert are described in the following paragraphs.

Class I

Until the theater is fully developed and ration requests can be implemented, ensure enough MRE rations for three to five days are stored on combat vehicles. Meals from this combat load are eaten only when daily Class I resupply cannot be accomplished. Frequency of unit feeding and use of A or B rations depends on the tactical situations, If possible, troops should receive at least one hot meal per day. Hot rations should be packed in platoon-size portions rather than consolidating company-size packages.

It is critical to plan for the cooling of water supplies. Troops will drink any potable water available to them; however, they would prefer chilled water. Commanders and staffs must plan for water coding systems, ice, and individual soldier/marine field-expedient devices. Troops fighting in the desert will likely be wearing the battle dress overgarment and body armor. This fact will impact on the planning for water consumption.

The key to having enough water in a task force conducting desert operations is the capacity of that force to store and transport it. Current water trailers are inadequate. The potential for water consumption is high when you consider personal use and consumption, decontamination, medical needs, messing operations, and maintenance uses. Possible solutions include converting fuel tankers to water tankers, the use of blivets, and local purchase of civilian water-holding tanks through host-nation support. Water is vital, yet local supplies may be scarce or nonexistent in a desert combat zone. If water is plentiful, as it is in mess around Tripoli and Benghasi in Libya, water supply should not be a problem, provided that normal water supply procedures are followed.

This paragraph deals with situations where local water is difficult to obtain. All units must maintain a continuous watch for possible sites such as oases, dry wells, dry water courses, open water (even marshes), or captured enemy dumps. These should be reported to the next higher headquarters, giving the location and quantity and flow, if possible. It is not the responsibility of these units to test the water for potability, which could be dangerous for untrained personnel. This task should be left to specialists.

Since distances between water points may be long, it may be desirable to augment the division with additional 5,000- and 2,500-gallon bulk water tankers, processed to haul water.

Priorities for water use should be established. See Appendix G for a suggested list of water priorities and additional information concerning drinking water needs, water requirements, and water heating rates. If vehicle decontamination is necessary, it will take a high priority. NonPotable water should be used for this task.

Class II

There is little change in Class II consumption. However, clothing variations, from tropical clothing to sweaters and sleeping bags, must be anticipated Requirements for items such as neck scarves and canteens will be increased as well as those for hand tools, since tools tend to get lost in the sand.

Class III

There is a marked increase in oils and lubricants used in preventive maintenance however, the actual quantities depend on operating conditions. Some types of desert terrain can lead to greatly increased fuel consumption per mile moved or hours that equipment is used. Use of cans or fuel bladders in certain circumstances should also be considered as they allow fuel to be spread more evenly among cargo vehicles since a loaded fuel tanker’s cross-country capability may be degraded in desert sand. HEMTTS may be a suitable replacement vehicle to solve the cross-country mobility problem.

Antifreeze requirements remain roughly the same as in temperate climates as antifreeze increases the boiling point of coolant and decreases wear on liquid-cooled engines. Various oils and lubricants are required in smaller user containers. This assists in preventing sand from contaminating larger containers since they would have to be moved from site to site, and opened and closed numerous times.

Class IV

The requirement for Class IV stores can be significantly more than in other theaters, and consumption of some items such as sandbags is greatly increased. Maximum use must be made of local materials. An engineer reconnaissance unit should be present in the theater from the initial buildup to establish what resources are available. All possible Class IV should be carried and incorporated into vehicle load plans when deploying. The construction of airstrips, minor port facilities, and rehabilitation of major port facilities and railways, are all engineer missions of particular importance in desert warfare.

Class V

Due to excellent firing conditions, and the need for extensive suppressive fires, ammunition consumption may be high. It may be necessary to restrict firing of certain types of ammunition once they have reached predesignated levels unless command approval is obtained. Battalion task force trains should contain a one-day supply of ammunition and missiles for all vehicles in the task force. Ammunition should be divided between combat and field trains when trains are echeloned. Units should keep ammunition as packaged until it can be uploaded on combat vehicles. This will protect the ammunition from sand that could cause weapon malfunction.

If artificial obstacles are to be employed, considerable quantities of mines will be required as minefield must be long and deep to be effective. Since extensive minefield will be preplanned, relatively few antitank mines need to be held in ammunition supply points forward of the division support area. When required, the quantities needed should be moved as close to minefield locations as possible. Only mines necessary to replenish unit basic loads used for local defense need be stocked forward of the division.

Class VI

The demand for Class VI supplies, especially beverages, is high. They are not, however, essential and if transportation is limited they are given a low priority, especially if refrigeration space is certain to be in short supply. Sundries packs can also be used.

Class VII

The demand for Class VII supplies depends greatly on maneuver and the intensity of the battle. The only variation that can be forecast is for refrigeration equipment, especially if it is necessary to move deceased personnel to the United States for burial.

Class VIII

Class VIII supplies may vary in type, but is unlikely that the overall quantity will vary significantly from that required in temperate climates.

Class IX

There is a large increase in demand for Class IX supplies due to environmental effects on equipment and the extra maintenance effort required. Small items with high usage rates should be held as far forward as team trains and may also be kept on fighting vehicles. Typical high consumption items are–

  • Tires for wheel vehicles.
  • Water pumps, gaskets, fan belts, water hoses, and clamps.
  • All parts for ignition systems.
  • Wheel and sprocket nuts, and wedge bolts.
  • Spare caps for all liquid containers.
  • Speedometers and cables (due to dead-reckoning navigation these are critical items).
  • Filter elements.


Due to extended lines of communication, consumption forecasts are very important in desert operations. Forecasts should be provided once a day and should include.

  • A POL forecast for the next 24 hours.
  • Status of the unit’s basic ammunition loads.
  • Equipment losses in the past 24 hours not previously reported.
  • Status of reserve water and rations.
  • Special supply shortages or maintenance problems not previously reported.

Section IX . Maintenance

In order to return equipment to battle as quickly as possible, repair of disabled equipment must be accomplished as close to the site of damage as possible. Evacuation should be limited whenever possible.

Due to unit dispersion, organizational maintenance personnel and direct-support contact teams will be thinly spread, so vehicle crews must be trained to make as many adjustments and repairs as they can. General guidelines for desert repair are–

  • Repair only what is necessary to make the equipment combat effective.
  • Recover and then evacuate to the nearest reasonably secure site, followed by on-the-spot repair.

An SOP for recovery and repair must be established either before or immediately upon arrival in the theater. The SOP should include–

  • Guidelines for crew-level recovery and expedient repair.
  • Recovery by organizational maintenance.
  • Recovery by direct-support maintenance.
  • Priorities for recovery by vehicle type.
  • Limitations on field expedients. For example, the distance or time over which one tank is allowed to tow another tank considering the heat buildup in the transmission in this environment.
  • Recovery of classified equipment such as crypto.
  • Security and guides for recovery teams.

Section X. Personnel Support


Mail is the soldier’s/marine’s link to family and friends. Inefficient distribution of mail can quickly undermine morale, regardless of the theater. Mail may be particularly affected by longer lines of communications in a desert theater of operations. Mail is important to the soldier/marine in the desert as it assists in defeating the sense of isolation caused by the environment and the necessary dispersion of units, It is especially important in the first few weeks to counter the shock of entering totally new terrain. Transportation of mail should be given a high priority on arrival in the theater of operations.


The mission of finance support organizations during conflict is to provide high-priority support to the soldier/marine on an area basis. Mobile pay teams from corps-level finance organizations provide support to brigade-size units. Generally, finance support will not change in the desert environment.


Legal service support will be provided to the commander and to troops by personnel of the division staff judge advocate section. This support will be on an as-required basis coordinated through personnel support channels. Legal advice will be available for the following areas:

  • International law.
  • Operational law.
  • Foreign law.
  • Status of forces agreements (SOFA).
  • Rules of engagement.
  • Claims and compensation payments.
  • Public affairs.


The chaplain is the staff officer responsible for implementation of the unit religious program. Included in this program are worship opportunities, administration of sacraments, rites and ordinances, pastoral care and counseling, development and mangement of the unit ministry team (UMT), advice to the commander and staff on matters of morals, morale as affected by religion, and ministry in support of combat shock casualty treatment. Many of the above elements may be affected by the religion of the host nation. With many of the deserts being in predominantly Muslim cultures, religious support may be affected and should be a consideration prior to deployment.

Section XI. Health Services

Medical unit requirements for desert operations are essentially the same as for temperate climates. It is essential that each brigade has an environmental sanitation team attached. When planning for medical support the following factors should be considered:

Increased dispersion and large areas over which battles are fought increases vehicle evacuation time. This problem can be further complicated if the enemy does not recognize the protection of the Red Cross, thereby inhibiting air evacuation within the range of enemy air defense weapons. The importance of units having trained combat lifesavers is critical to overcoming this. The reduction of the number of deaths due to slow evacuation time can be directly affected by the combat lifesavers available. One combat lifesaver per combat vehicle is an adequate number.

The comparatively long distances between units may limit the availability of medical aidmen to adequately support combat troops. Reinforcements may be required from the division medical battalion or from supporting corps level medical units. Augmentation should include vehicles as well as personnel.

The incidence of illness from heat injuries and diseases are higher than in temperate climates. Fevers, diarrhea, and vomiting, for example, cause loss of water and salt, which can culminate in heat illnesses. Cold weather injuries can also occur during a desert winter.

The mobility required of maneuver units will be inhibited if movement of any part of these units, including trains, is restricted by having to hold a number of casualties; therefore, the wounded and sick must be evacuated immediately.

In order to properly treat patients, all medical treatment facilities should be provided additional supplies of water. Medical personnel at all levels must assist tactical commanders in preventing or reducing heat casualties within their units.

Divisional medical units should be augmented with extra field ambulances from corps units. In an emergency, empty cargo trucks moving to the rear can be used for medical evacuation.

Evacuation from the battalion combat trains back to the brigade ambulance exchange point (AXP) or clearing station, will be performed by ground or air transportation. METT-T, availability of equipment, and the patient’s condition, will be the determining factors on what method of transportation will be utilized.

The effects of nuclear weapons can be expected to be greater in desert terrain. Introduction of nuclear weapons by the enemy will greatly increase casualties and severely strain available medical resources. The same effects can be expected if the enemy introduces chemical weapons against unprepared troops.

Section XII. Naval and Air Force Assistance


During the initial stages of an operation it may be necessary to request logistic support from the US Navy. Ships, with the exception of a few special types, are neither designed nor equipped to give logistic support to ground forces. Limited support may be available if it is adequately coordinated in advance. A cruiser, for example, may have more than 20,000 gallons of water per day available beyond the requirements of the crew. Limited supplies of items such as bread may be available. Limited surgical and medical assistance may also be available.


The military air command (MAC) provides tactical airlift in support of the force. Air Force assistance must be coordinated with MAC to deliver personnel, supplies, and equipment forward to brigades and farther forward when necessary. Delivery is made by the most suitable means available, air landing, extraction, or airdrop. MAC also makes aircraft available for rearward movement of wounded persons or prisoners of war.

Section XIII. Other Combat Service Support Issues


The mortuary affairs program provides peacetime and wartime support to search, recover, identify, evacuate, and, when required, temporarily inter, disinter and re-inter deceased US military or civilian personnel, and allied and enemy dead. In addition, the program provides support to collect, inventory, store, and process personal effects (PE) of deceased, missing, captured, and medically evacuated US personnel and deceased allied and enemy personnel.

The goal of the mortuary affairs program is to search, recover, identify, and evacuate the remains of US military and certain civilian personnel from the theater of operations as long as feasible using available US Air Force aircraft.

The longer lines of communication required in desert environments may affect the evacuation of the deceased and therefore must be a planning consideration. Transport remains in palletized transfer cases when the tactical and logistical situation permits.

When the situation prohibits immediate evacuation, remains may have to be temporarily interred within the theater. When possible, the use of temporary cemeteries will be confined to echelons above corps. However, emergency war burial (mass burial) sites, as authorized by the theater commander, may be required as far forward as the brigade area. Desert environmental factors should be considered when establishing temporary interment sites, as the desert environment can significantly affect burial sites (strong winds, flash flooding and so forth. Remains will be buried with their personal effects in these burial sites to assist in the identification of remains when they are disinterred.

This concept will permit the use of host nation support (HNS) to dig and fill mass burial sites. Host nation support laborers will not actually handle or process remains or personal effects of US personnel, but will generally provide labor for interment operations. The mortuary affairs company commander has overall technical responsibility for the layout and survey accuracy of the cemetery. During World War II HNS/EPW labor was used successfully by mortuary affairs units.


In a desert theater of operations, where resources are scarce to begin with, the innovative use of captured materiel can be critical. This materiel can contribute to the retention of momentum by maneuver forces and decreases the need to consume our own supply stocks and to transport them to using units. Obvious sources are captured or overrun enemy fuel supply points, and materiel which may be used for barrier and fortification construction. Food and medical supplies may be used to feed and treat EPWs and civilians. Commanders and staffs must have a workable plan for handling EPWs. These potentially overwhelming requirements include health services, transportation, security forces, and so forth.


Clothing exchange and bath (CEB) services are provided by the supply and service company, when augmented. CEB services are requested through the brigade S4. The request must specify the location of the unit making the request, desired time for service, and range of clothing sizes for unit members. The requesting unit must be prepared to assist troops in setting up the CEB point.

NOTE: These activities may not be possible in the early stages of an operation, or not at all in forward areas. Additional effort will be required to provide these services in the desert.

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Disclosure: EducationDynamics receives compensation for the featured schools on our websites (see “Sponsored Schools” or “Sponsored Listings” or “Sponsored Results”). So what does this mean for you? Compensation may impact where the Sponsored Schools appear on our websites, including whether they appear as a match through our education matching services tool, the order in which they appear in a listing, and/or their ranking. Our websites do not provide, nor are they intended to provide, a comprehensive list of all schools (a) in the United States (b) located in a specific geographic area or (c) that offer a particular program of study. By providing information or agreeing to be contacted by a Sponsored School, you are in no way obligated to apply to or enroll with the school.

This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The financial aid information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.

VFW $30,000 Scholarship!
Write an essay on the annual patriotic theme. This year’s theme is, “Why Is The Veteran Important?”