Without an effective means to relay what you’ve found, your mission is absolutely pointless. Effective, quick methods to send traffic are absolutely essential. Remember as a rule:
- Keep your transmissions as short as possible; and
- Keep your transmitting power as low as possible.
In order to accomplish #1, standard formats are the only way to go. We’ve talked about SALUTE/SALT. That’s standard Army stuff; what follows builds upon this.
Messages can be sent by any means possible; normally digital modes are most efficient if at all possible for brevity’s sake. If digital is out, messages can be sent by voice or IMC. Each line of the message format takes a letter as a proword, for example, ALPHA being the first line. The proword is repeated three times.
Once, while teaching this, I was asked by a former Line NCO why we do this. Simply put, is so that no other traffic is mistaken for these reports. They are their own animal aside from duress/immediate action report formats, such as MEDEVAC and Call for Fire.
The procedure would sound something like this:
- “You, this is Me, Over”
- “Me, this is You”
- “(name of the report), Acknowledge”
- “(name of the report), Roger”
- “Alpha, Alpha, Alpha…(line 1 traffic), Break, Bravo, Bravo, Bravo…”
And then your message is sent. Simple enough, right? Roger that.
There are five reports relevant to the Recon mission. The Initial Entry Report, Intelligence Report, Situation Report, Cache Report, and Battle Damage Assessment. Each report gets it’s own codename; this is for brevity’s sake.
Initial Entry Report
This report is sent once a team completes entry into the operating area. Normally this is sent once the hide site is completed. I’ll point out here that during insertion and extraction phases, everyone’s lines of communication is up, 100%. If your commo fails during insertion, the mission is aborted right then and there. It looks like this:
- Date/Time Group(DTG)
- Team Status (again, use codewords for good to go, or shot to hell and needing rescue)
- Current Location(use grid with letter identifier)
- Any deviation from the plan that occurred and why
- Any additional info
Unlike SALUTE or SALT, these are compiled over time and developed into what’s known as a product. With digital modes, it’s possible to send pictures in with this report.
- DTG of Observed Activity
- Location of Observed Activity
- Observed Activity
- Description of Personnel, Equipment, Vehicles, and Weapons
- Team Assessment(how is who you’re watching broken down? Who’s the leader, what are their capabilities, etc.)
- Current Location
- Medical Status of Team
- Equipment Status
- Supply Status( batteries, weapons, water, food, in that order)
- Team Activity since last Commo Window
- Team Activity till next Commo Window
- Team Leader remarks
Often equipment is cached in the area of operations to extend the length of time the team can operate and possibly expand mission capabilities. Most importantly, it lightens the load on your back. The report is as follows:
- Type of Cache(surface, buried, or underwater)
- Any additional info(normally specific markings)
Battle Damage Assessment
BDAs are import for a couple reasons; for starters, it’s an accurate gauge of either friendly forces’ capabilities or your enemy’s. What’s more important though is the observation of the effect on the people in the area. If it disrupts civilian life too much, it could be a possible means to exploit. That’s situation dependent though. The report is as follows:
- Location of Target
- Type of Target
- Description of Target
- Physical Damage
- Functional Damage
- BDA analysis
- Was the attack successful?
- Is re-attack necessary?
- What are the Human Terrain(civilian) consequences?
These are the standard, professional report formats used. Mastering these skills now ensures it’s done right when the time is needed. Only one way to do this.
Get to it.