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What field manual covers Desert Operations?
FM 90-3
Even though desert terrain varies considerably from place to place, there is one common feature of all deserts. What is that common feature?
Lack of water
Successful desert operations require adaptation to what?
The environment and to the limitations its terrain and climate impose
What is the basic definition of a desert:
Arid, barren regions of the earth incapable of supporting normal life due to lack of water
What are the three types of desert terrain?
  • Mountain
  • Rocky plateau
  • Sandy or dune terrain
Describe mountain deserts:
Mountain deserts are characterized by scattered ranges or areas of barren hills or mountains, separated by dry, flat basins
Describe Rocky Plateau Deserts:
Rocky plateau deserts are extensive flat areas with quantities of solid or broken rock at or near the surface.
Describe Sandy or Dune Deserts:
Sandy or dune deserts are extensive flat areas covered with sand or gravel, the product of ancient deposits or modern wind erosion.
What is the highest known ambient temperature recorded in a desert?
136 degrees Fahrenheit
What is the most important single characteristic of the desert?
The lack of water
Name some snakes common to deserts:
  • Sand Vipers
  • Cobras

Lack of natural concealment has been known to induce what fear in some troops?
Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces)
In a desert environment, it is important that unit leaders monitor their troops carefully for signs of heat distress and adjust what?
  • Work Schedules
  • Work Rates
  • Rest
  • Water consumption according to conditions
A lack of alertness can indicate early stages of what?

Chronic dehydration increases the incidence of what several medical problems?
  • Constipation
  • Piles (hemorrhoids)
  • Kidney Stones
  • Urinary Infections
At the first evidence of heat illness, what should the troops do?
Stop work, get into shade and rehydrate
Contact lenses are very difficult to maintain in the dry dusty environment of the desert and should not be worn except by military personnel operating in what?
Air conditioned environments, under command guidance.
Maintaining safe, clean, water supplies is critical. The best containers for small quantities of water (5 gallons) are plastic water cans or coolers. How long does water last in both plastic and metal containers?
Water in plastic cans will be good for up to 72 hours
Water in metal containers is safe only for 24 hours

If water trailers are kept cool, how long is the water considered fresh and safe to drink?
Up to 5 days
If ice is placed into a water trailer to keep it cool, what should happen prior to moving the trailer to prevent damage to the inside lining of the water trailer?
The ice should be removed

What is a use of water that is not fit to drink but is not otherwise dangerous (it may be merely oversalinated)?
May be used to wet clothing to aid in cooling
When carrying your water supply during a mission, how should the water containers be stored?
  • Try to vibration by clamping them firmly to the vehicle body.
  • In the shade and benefit from an air draft.
  • In an area protected from puncture by shell splinters.
  • Able to be easily dismounted in case of vehicle evacuation.
What is the best indicator of proper hydration?

All unit leaders must understand the critical importance of maintaining the proper hydration status. Almost any contingency of military operations will act to interfere with the maintenance of hydration. What are the considerations for proper hydration during desert operations:
  • Drink before you become thirsty and drink often, When you become thirsty you will be about a "quart and a half low"
  • Carry as much water as possible when away from approved sources of drinking water
  • Drink before you work; carry water in your belly, do not "save" it in your canteen
  • Ensure troops have at least one canteen of water in reserve, and know where and when water re-supply will be available
Gaseous drinks such as sodas, beer, and milk are not good substitutes for water because of what?
Their dehydrating effects.
Diseases common to the desert include
  • Plague
  • Typhus
  • Malaria
  • dengue fever
  • dysentery
  • cholera
  • typhoid
Most diarrheal diseases result from ingestion of water or food contaminated with what?
What are the ten characteristics of the desert environment which may adversely affect equipment used in the desert:
  1. Terrain
  2. Heat
  3. Winds
  4. Dust and sand
  5. Humidity
  6. Temperature variations
  7. Thermal bending
  8. Optical path bending
  9. electricity
  10. Radiant light.
What is the major problem with radios in a desert environment?
What are some steps that may be taken to reduce the heat effects on radio equipment?
  • Keep radios out of direct sunlight
  • Place a piece of wood on top of the radio. Leaving space between the wood and the top of the radio will help cool the equipment
  • Operating the radio on low power whenever possible will also help
  • Place wet rags on top of radios to help keep them cool and operational.  Do not cover the vents.

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