Three Meter 

Zone: Common Sense Leadership for NCOs. Welcome to the world of the noncommissioned officer, 

the ultimate in hands-on, front-line leadership: the three meter zone where the work of the 

soldier occurs. ... a full fledged study of leadership for NCOs, by an NCO.
Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal










MEDICAL EVACUATION: Medical evacuation is the timely, efficient movement and en route care by medical personnel of the wounded, injured, or ill persons from the battlefield, (FM 8-10-6).




  • CMTC rotations with Task Force died of wounds average over 70%.††


  • Lack of security for company team trains causing trains to be destroyed and effectively eliminating any further combat service support.


  • CSS not being included in the company rehearsals causing confusion about casualty evacuation and support operations during the mission.


  • Company/Team are not utilizing CPs to track the CSS operations during the mission causing slow reconstitution of company assets for the next mission.




The most forward CSS element is the company team combat trains, which provide vehicle recovery, medical aid, and maintenance services.The 1SG normally positions the trains and directly supervises CSS operations.The trains normally operate 500 to 1,00 meters (or one terrain feature) to the rear of the company team.The Company team combat trains normally include the following vehicles, with corresponding crews:


  • The M88A1 recovery vehicle.
  • The Maintenance M113.
  • The 1SGís M113.
  • The medicís M113.
  • The commanderís and 1SGís HMMWVs.


Things to consider:


  • Vehicle configuration: Do we have the litter kits properly installed in each type of vehicle to support casualty evacuation?Is our load plans reconfigured to support casualties?


  • Communications:Who is monitoring what net?Who is tracking the casualty reports from which vehicle?


  • Security:What weapon systems do we have organic to these vehicles that can provide security? Do we need combat vehicles to provide support?


  • TRAINS SECURITY: Because security of CSS elements is critical to the success of the company team missions, the company team combat trains must develop plans for continuous security operations.It may be necessary to use a combat vehicle to support this function (i.e. XO tank/Bradley).We must know the types of threat we may be facing while conducting our support functions and have the necessary combat assets to destroy this threat.


COMMUNICATIONS:Fast, reliable communications are critical to the CSS effort. The 1SG must be able to instantly report the company teamís status, including combat losses, and to send resupply and support requests. We must decide who will track and send up this information too higher.


COMMAND POST: The company CP assist the commander in preparing for battles by providing a centralized point for information gathering and dissemination, coordination, time management, and tracking of unity status.


  • Configuration:A company team is generally limited to the use of a tent or one of its headquarters vehicles as the CP.M113s can be used with an extension to provide shelter during inclimate weather and night operations. M254 antenna, droplights, and tracking charts will greatly enhance the CP capabilities.


  • Manning:†† Company master gunner, NBC NCO, or the senior gunner of the headquarters section can be the NCOIC.This position is vital to the smooth functioning of the CP. The RTO is equally important in taking accurate reports.


  • Functions:The company team CP assists the commander by reducing the number of items he must personally track and report.This further frees the commander to conduct troop-leading procedures during the preparation phase.


    • Record incoming information (such as status reports, warning orders, and FRAGOs).
    • Continuously refine the SITTEMP using the latest intelligence and distribute the updated SITTEMP to all company team elements.
    • Post current guidance, timelines, and overlays.
    • Pass required reports to the task force.
    • Track unit battle preparations and logistical and maintenance status.
    • Conduct required coordination with adjacent and flank units.
    • Facilitate bottom-up refinement of operating system planning and preparation.


VEHICLE CONFIGURATION: Load plans must be adjusted to facilitate the use of litters in all of the company team trains vehicles.A plan must be made on which vehicles will operate together.KIAís will be evacuated separately from the wounded on which vehicles? What is the maximum number of casualties the company team trains can support before we must call for mass casualty assets?Do we have the necessary medical aide bags for each vehicle to able to treat casualties?


CSS PLANING CONSIDERATIONS: The company team commander develops his CSS plan by predicting his support requirements.To do this, he uses available information from his mission analysis and from war-gaming the plan with his subordinate leaders.This process is important in confirming the validity of the CSS plan.


The commander can formulate his CSS execution plan and submit support requests to the task force based on the results of his COA analysis and of the war-gaming and refinement of the maneuver plan.The CSS plan should provide answers to a variety of operational questions, such as:


  • What are the composition, disposition, and capabilities of the expected enemy threat and how will this effect CSS operations during the battle?


  • Where and when will the expected contact occur?


  • Based on the nature and location of expected contact, what are the company teamís expected casualties and vehicle losses?


  • What impact will the enemyís special weapons capabilities (such as NBC) have on the battle and on expected CSS requirements?


  • How will terrain and weather effect CSS operations during the battle?


  • What ground will provide optimum security for trainís elements?


  • What ground will provide optimum security for maintenance and casualty collection points?


  • What are the teamís ďdirtyĒ routes for evacuation of contaminated personnel, vehicles, and equipment?


  • When and where will the company team need CSS?


  • Based on the nature and location of expected contact, what are the best sites for the maintenance collection points?


  • Based on the nature and location of expected contact, what are the best sites for the casualty collection points?


  • What are the criteria and triggers for the movement of the company combat trains?


CSS REHEARSALS: As in all operational areas, comprehensive rehearsals are important keys to effective CSS planning.These activities play a critical role in ensuring that the company team can execute its CSS plans efficiently, on time, and with the fewest possible problems.They allow the commander, his subordinate contingency plans to take care of unforeseen difficulties.


Company team commanders have several options for conduction CSS rehearsals.One is to integrate the CSS rehearsal into the unitís larger maneuver rehearsals.Another alternative is to have the unitís CSS operators conduct a separate rehearsal.Within the company team, for example, the commander could direct the XO and 1SG to rehearse CSS operations with the teamís PSGs, maintenance team chief, and medics.


Bottom line!Everyone in the company must understand the CSS plan for the company for every upcoming mission.Every vehicle commander must have CSS graphics in addition to the obstacle overlay, which effect CSS operations.How the reports and information during the battle is to be sent. What is the SOP for casualty marking of vehicles during day and night operations?All of these questions should be answered during the rehearsals and all of the company should know this information.