Infantry Drills

7-66: Maintenance

Previous: 7-63: Planning

7-66. The maintenance of weapons and equipment is continuous. Every Soldier must know how to maintain his weapon and equipment according to the related technical manual. The platoon leader, platoon sergeant, and squad leaders must understand maintenance for every piece of equipment in the platoon.

7-67. Maintenance includes inspecting, testing, servicing, repairing, requisitioning,
recovering, and evacuating vehicles and equipment. Maintenance at the platoon and squad level comprises thorough preventive maintenance checks and services and accurate reporting of maintenance problems to the company.

7-68. Maintenance and the early identification of problems prevent equipment down-time and the reduction of combat effectiveness. The result of good PMCS is a properly completed equipment inspection and maintenance forms. These forms (DA Form 2404 or DA Form 5988-E) are the primary means through which the platoon and squads obtain maintenance support or repair parts. The forms follow a pathway from crew level to the brigade support area and back. Per unit SOP, the company executive officer or 1SG supervises the flow of these critical maintenance documents and parts. The flow of reporting and repairing equipment includes the following:

  • The squad leaders or vehicle commanders collect the maintenance forms and send them via Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below or give them to the platoon sergeant, who consolidates the forms for the platoon.
  • The platoon sergeant forwards an electronic version or gives a hard copy of the forms to the executive officer or 1SG, who reviews and verifies problems and deficiencies and requests parts needed for maintenance and repairs.
  • The electronic versions of the forms are consolidated at company level and then transmitted to the battalion and it’s supporting combat repair team.
  • During the next LOGPAC operation, the completed hard copy forms are returned to the combat repair team to document completion of the repair.
  • In the brigade support area, required repair parts are packaged for delivery during the next scheduled resupply or through emergency resupply means.
  • If the repair or installation of the part requires higher skills and equipment than the operator, a combat repair team is dispatched to assess the repair and to install the part on site.
  • The operator conducts initial maintenance, repair, and recovery actions on site. Once it is determined that the crew cannot repair or recover the vehicle or equipment, the platoon contacts the executive officer or 1SG. If additional assistance is needed, the combat repair team assesses the damaged or broken equipment and makes necessary repairs to return the piece of equipment to fully mission-capable or mission-capable status, if appropriate.

7-69. The unit SOP should detail when maintenance is performed, to what standards, and who inspects it. The squad leader is most often the one who inspects maintenance work, with the platoon sergeant and platoon leader conducting spot-checks. Besides operator maintenance, selected Soldiers are trained to perform limited maintenance on damaged weapons and battle damage assessment and repair.

7-70. Inoperative equipment is fixed as far forward as possible. When a piece of
equipment is damaged, it should be inspected to see if it can be repaired on the spot. If equipment cannot be repaired forward, it is evacuated immediately or returned with a LOGPAC. Even if the item cannot be evacuated at once, the maintenance system is alerted to prepare for repair or replacement. If a replacement is available (from an evacuated Soldier or inoperative equipment), it is sent forward. If not, the leader must work around it by prioritizing remaining equipment. For example, using a squad radio for the company command net if the platoon radio is broken.

Next: 7-71: Scheduled Services

Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad