Soldier Combat Skills

Chapter 1 – Introduction

Chapter 1


Military service is more than a “job.” It is a profession with the enduring purpose to win wars and destroy our nation’s enemies. The Warrior Ethos demands a dedication to duty that may involve putting your life on the line, even when survival is in question, for a cause greater than yourself. As a Soldier, you must motivate yourself to rise above the worst battle conditions-no matter what it takes, or how long it takes. That is the heart of the Warrior Ethos, which is the foundation for your commitment to victory in times of peace and war. While always exemplifying the four parts of Warrior Ethos, you must have absolute faith in yourself and your team, as they are trained and equipped to destroy the enemy in close combat. Warrior drills are a set of nine battle drills, consisting of individual tasks that develop and manifest the Warrior Ethos in Soldiers.


1-1. This complex operational environment offers no relief or rest from contact with the enemy across the spectrum of conflict. No matter what combat conditions you find yourself in, you must turn your personal Warrior Ethos into your commitment to win. In the combat environment of today, unlike conflicts of the past, there is little distinction between the forward and rear areas. Battlefields of the Global War on Terrorism, and battles to be fought in the US Army’s future, are and will be asymmetrical, violent, unpredictable, and multidimensional. Today’s conflicts are fought throughout the whole spectrum of the battlespace by all Soldiers, regardless of military occupational specialty (MOS). Every Soldier must think as a Warrior first; a professional Soldier, trained, ready, and able to enter combat; ready to fight–and win–against any enemy, any time, any place.


1-2. US Army Values reminds us and displays to the rest of the world-the civilian governments we serve, the nation we protect, other nations, and even our enemies-who we are and what we stand for (Figure 1-1). The trust you have for your fellow Soldiers, and the trust the American people have in you, depends on how well you live up to the Army Values. After all, these values are the fundamental building blocks that enable you to understand right from wrong in any situation. Army Values are consistent and support one another; you cannot follow one value and ignore the others. Figure 1-1 shows the Army Values, which form the acrostic LDRSHIP.

Figure 1-1. Army Values.

Bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other Soldiers.
Fulfill your obligations.
Treat people with dignity as they should be treated.
Selfless Service
Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.
Live up to all the Army Values.
Do what’s right, legally and morally.
Personal Courage (Physical or Moral)
Face fear, danger, or adversity.

1-3. Performance in combat, the greatest challenge, requires a basis, such as Army Values, for motivation and will. In these values are rooted the basis for the character and self-discipline that generates the will to succeed and the motivation to persevere. From this motivation derived through tough realistic training and the skills acquired, which will make you successful, a Soldier who “walks the walk.”

1-4. Army Values, including policies and procedures, form the foundation on which the Army’s institutional culture stands. However, written values are useless unless practiced. You must act correctly with character, complete understanding, and sound motivation. Your trusted leaders will aid you in adopting such values by making sure their core experiences validate them. By this method, strategic leadership embues Army Values into all Soldiers.


1-5. The conduct of armed hostilities on land is regulated by FM 27-10 and the Law of Land Warfare. Their purpose is to diminish the evils of war by protecting combatants and noncombatants from unnecessary suffering, and by safeguarding certain fundamental human rights of those who fall into the hands of the enemy, particularly enemy prisoners of war (EPWs), detainees, wounded and sick, and civilians. Every Soldier adheres to these laws, and ensures that his subordinates adhere to them as well, during the conduct of their duties. Soldiers must also seek clarification from their superiors of any unclear or apparently illegal order. Soldiers need to understand that the law of land warfare not only applies to states, but also to individuals, particularly all members of the armed forces.


1-6. The Warrior Culture, a shared set of important beliefs, values, and assumptions, is crucial and perishable. Therefore, the Army must continually affirm, develop, and sustain it, as it maintains the nation’s existence. Its martial ethic connects American warriors of today with those whose previous sacrifices allowed our nation to persevere. You, the individual Soldier, are the foundation for the Warrior Culture. As in larger institutions, the Armed Forces’ use culture, in this case Warrior Culture, to let people know they are part of something bigger than just themselves; they have responsibilities not only to the people around them, but also to those who have gone before and to those who will come after them. The Warrior Culture is a part of who you are, and a custom you can take pride in. Personal courage, loyalty to comrades, and dedication to duty are attributes integral to putting your life on the line.


1-7. A battle drill–

• Is a collective action, executed by a platoon or smaller element, without the application of a deliberate decision-making process. The action is vital to success in combat or critical to preserve life. The drill is initiated on a cue, such as an enemy action or your leader’s order, and is a trained response to the that stimulus. It requires minimum leader orders to accomplish, and is standard throughout the Army. A drill has the following advantages:

–It is based on unit missions and the specific tasks, standards, and performance measures required to support mission proficiency. –It builds from simple to complex, but focuses on the basics. –It links how-to-train and how-to-fight at small-unit level. –It provides an agenda for continuous coaching and analyzing. –It develops leaders, and builds teamwork and cohesion under stress. –It enhances the chance for individual and unit survival on the battlefield.


1-8. The Warrior drills–

Are a set of core battle drills for small units from active and reserve component organizations across the Army, regardless of branch.

Describe a training method for small units. This method requires training individual, leader, and collective tasks before the conduct of critical wartime missions.

Provide a foundation for the development of specific objectives for combat. The expanded list of Warrior Drills helps place the individual Soldiers’ tasks (as well as the team) in sufficient context to identify meaningful consequences of individual behavior.


Have individual tasks that develop and manifest the Warrior Ethos. A barrier, for example, is an element that impedes a response or behavior. Barrier control can focus on points that are most sensitive to the behavior of individuals such as choices, actions, and interactions; and on those with the most serious consequences such as effects on other individuals and success of the mission.

  • Create opportunities to develop the Warrior Ethos. The nine drills follow:
  • React to Contact (visual, improvised explosive device [IED], direct fire).
  • React to Ambush (Near).
  • React to Ambush (Far).
  • React to Indirect Fire.
  • React to a Chemical Attack.
  • Break Contact.
  • Dismount a Vehicle.
  • Evacuate Wounded Personnel from Vehicle.
  • Establish Security at the Halt.

Figure 1-2. Warrior drills.

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