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United States Army
Basic Training Operating Instructions

Foot Marches

1.  References:  2-46 IN SOP, Annex G; BCT POI 21-114, Annex S.

2.  All guidance in the BN SOP is in effect.

3.  Exceptions:  NBC play and ambushes require Range Control approval.  If there is no NBC play or ambushes, MILES is not required.

4.  Prior coordination:

            a.  Overlays are required if out of the cantonment area (on range roads).  Overlays require prior approval by Range Control (annually recertified).  Call in an opening report prior to SP to Range Control and the Battalion S3 Shop.

            b.  Maintain an aid vehicle and FM communication with Range Control on all road marches.  Aid vehicle will trail the column.  Someone (anyone) will ride with the driver to ensure they remain alert.  The vehicle with water can lead, but must have radio communications with the company.

            c.  A safety briefing is given to all participants.  Maximize use of reflective vests; use red lens flashlights during limited visibility.

            d.  Cadre marching are in the same uniform as the privates and wear some type of reflective gear on their person or their gear.  Two drill sergeants march with each platoon.

            e.  Cadre will carry AN/PRC 127s to maintain communication.  At a minimum, one with the lead element (water vehicle), one with the FLA (rear vehicle).  An additional vehicle should be used for straggler control and is used as a standby vehicle if there is a medical emergency.

            f.  Hydrate and stretch privates before and after the footmarch.

            g.  Drill Sergeants personally check that each soldier has a full canteen prior to beginning, as well as conduct on-the-spot corrections on intervals, weapons held at the ready, etc.

            h.  Do not assume privates understand what terms like interval and distance mean, or that they know how far 5 meters is (half the width of the road, you)! 

5.  There are now seven mandatory footmarches: 3k, 5k, 8k, 3x 10k and 15k.  The final 10k is the approach march for the FTX, the 15k is the return march.

6.  Packing list for each footmarch is in Appendix 1.

7.  Footmarches are tactical and a tactical halt will be conducted, except for the 3 or 5K footmarch.  Water cans should be spread along the route where the halfway point is and 50% security pulled while privates top off.  Have privates change socks and check their feet.  Privates will remove rucksacks and assume the prone position facing outwards with rifles ready while pulling security.  Ensure that all privates are safely off the road during tactical halts.  On long marches, allow privates to use the woodline or roadside latrines.  A tactical halt can easily take 30 minutes.  The end of the formation doesn’t get as much time as head during a halt.

8.  Bring walkie-talkies for command and control.  DO NOT put stragglers in FLA -- bring along a truck to collect them.

9.  Completion of all footmarches is mandatory.  Companies will conduct their own make-up marches.

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Note: These Operating Instructions were derived from a set of SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for a United States Army Infantry Basic Training Battalion. While SOPs might differ somewhat from batallion to batallion, it should give a basic idea of the instructions that Drill Sergeants and basic training staff members operate under.

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