Infantry Drills

7-85: Movement

Previous: 7-81: + Casualty Care

7-85. Timely movement of casualties from the battlefield is important not only for safety and care for the wounded, but also for troop morale. Squad leaders are responsible for casualty evacuation from the battlefield to the platoon CCP. At the CCP, the senior medic assists the platoon sergeant and first sergeant in arranging evacuation by ground or air ambulance or by nonstandard means. Leaders must minimize the number of Soldiers required to evacuate casualties.

7-86. Casualties with minor wounds can walk or even assist with carrying the more seriously wounded. Soldiers can make field-expedient litters by cutting small trees and putting the poles through the sleeves of zippered Army combat uniform blouses or ponchos. A travois, or skid, may be used for casualty evacuation. This is a type of litter on which wounded can be strapped; it can be pulled by one person. It can be fabricated locally from durable, plastic rolls on which tie-down straps are fastened. In rough terrain (or on patrols), casualties may be evacuated all the way to the BAS by litter teams. From there they can be carried with the unit until transportation can reach them, or left at a position and picked up later.

7-87. From the platoon area, casualties normally are evacuated to the company CCP and back to the BAS. The company first sergeant, with the assistance of the platoon sergeant, normally is responsible for movement of the casualties from the platoon CCP to the company CCP. The unit SOP should address this activity, including the marking of casualties during limited visibility operations. Small, standard, or infrared chemical lights work well for this purpose. Once the casualties are collected, evaluated, and treated, they are sent to company CCP. Once they arrive, the above process is repeated while awaiting their evacuation back to the BAS.

7-88. When the company is widely dispersed, the casualties may be evacuated directly from the platoon CCP by vehicle or helicopter. Helicopter evacuation may be restricted due to the enemy air defense artillery or small arms/rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) threat. In some cases, casualties must be moved to the company CCP or battalion combat trains before helicopter evacuation. When there are not enough battalion organic ambulances to move the wounded, unit leaders may direct supply vehicles to “backhaul” casualties to the BAS after supplies are delivered. Normally, urgent casualties will move by ambulance. Less seriously hurt Soldiers are moved by other means. If no ambulance is available, the most critical casualties must get to the BAS as quickly as possible. In some cases, the platoon sergeant may direct platoon litter teams to carry casualties to the rear.

7-89. The senior military person present determines whether to request medical or casualty evacuations and assigns precedence. These decisions are based on the advice of the senior medical person at the scene, the patient’s condition, and tactical situation. Casualties will be picked up as soon as possible, consistent with available resources and pending missions. Following are priority categories of precedence and criteria used in their assignment:

  • Priority I-Urgent—assigned to emergency cases being evacuated as soon as possible and within a maximum of one hour in order to save life, limb, or eyesight; to prevent complications of serious illness; or to avoid permanent disability.
  • Priority IA-Urgent-Surgical—assigned to patients who must receive far forward surgical intervention to save their lives and stabilize them for further evacuation.
  • Priority II-Priority—assigned to sick and wounded personnel requiring prompt medical care. The precedence is used when special treatment is not available locally; the individual will suffer unnecessary pain or disability (becoming URGENT precedence) if not evacuated within four hours.
  • Priority III-Routine—assigned to sick and wounded personnel requiring evacuation but whose condition is not expected to deteriorate significantly. The sick and wounded in this category should be evacuated within 24 hours.
  • Priority IV-Convenience—assigned to patients for whom evacuation by medical vehicle is a matter of medical convenience rather than necessity.

Next: 7-90: Medical Evacuation

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