Soldier Combat Skills

Chapter 2 – Individual Readiness

Chapter 2

Individual Readiness

The US Army is based on our nation’s greatest resource-you, the individual fighting Soldier. Success in the defense of our nation depends on your individual readiness, initiative, and capabilities. You are cohesive, integral parts of the whole. Your mission is to deter aggression through combat readiness and, when deterrence fails, to win the nation’s wars. This mission must not be compromised. You must be ready.

Deployment is challenging and stressful–both on you and on your family. You will be away from the comforts of home. This is not easy. Preparedness can reduce the stress and increase your focus and confidence once you are deployed.


2-1. What could or would happen if you were a long way from your family for an indefinite period of time, and unable to communicate with them? The losing organization will complete a DA Form 7425, Readiness and Deployment Checklist, on you, but it is not designed for your use. Figure 2-1 shows an example checklist that you might create for your own use.


2-2. Your installation legal assistance center can provide a great number of services. Army legal assistance centers provide answers and advice to even the most complex problems. Such legal assistance usually does not include in-court representation. Some of the issues that your installation’s legal assistance center may be able to help with follow:

  • Marriage and divorce issues.
  • Child custody and visitation issues.
  • Adoptions or other family matters (as expertise is available).
  • Wills.
  • Powers of attorney.
  • Advice for designating SGLI beneficiaries.
  • Landlord-tenant issues.
  • Consumer affairs such as mortgages, warranties.
  • Bankruptcies.
  • Garnishments and indebtedness.
  • Notarizations.
  • Name changes, as expertise is available.
  • Bars to reenlistment (as available).
  • Hardship discharges.
  • Taxes.


2-3. Your personal weapon is vital to you in combat. Take care of it, and it will do the same for you. Seems obvious, right? Apparently not. Multiple reports from the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom revealed that faulty weapons training and maintenance were the main causes of US casualties and captures: “These malfunctions may have resulted from inadequate individual maintenance and the environment.” Soldiers had trouble firing their personal and crew-served weapons, and the main reason cited was poor preventive maintenance. Few things will end a firefight faster and more badly than a weapon that will not shoot! The complex M16A2 rifle needs cleaning and proper lubrication at least once a day in order to properly function. Follow these procedures and those in the technical manual (TM):


2-4. Use only the cleaning supplies listed in the Expendable and Durable Items List in the back of the TM.

Abrasives and Harsh Chemicals

2-5. Avoid using abrasive materials such as steel wool or commercial scrubbing pads, and harsh chemicals not intended for use on your weapon. This can ruin the finish of the weapon. It can also remove rifling and damage internal parts, either of which can make your weapon inaccurate and ineffective during the mission.


2-6. Never clean your weapon under running water, which can force moisture into tight places, resulting in corrosion.


2-7. In the field, clean your weapon often, at least daily. Even just taking every chance to wipe the weapon’s exterior with a clean cloth will help ensure operability.


2-8. Do any cleaning that involves disassembly at your level in an enclosed area. Blowing sand and other debris can not only affect your weapon, it can also cause you to lose the parts of the weapon. For parts that must be disassembled beyond your level, such as the trigger assembly, just blow out the dirt or debris.

Magazines and Ammunition

2-9. Clean your magazines, but avoid using any lubrication in them or on ammunition. Unload and wipe off your ammunition daily, then disassemble and run a rag through the magazine to prevent jamming.


2-10. Lubrication reduces friction between metal parts.


2-11. You may only use authorized, standard military lubricant for small arms such as cleaner lubricant preservative (CLP). Also, lubricate only internal parts.

Moving Parts

2-12. Pay special attention to moving parts like the bolt carrier. Wipe the outside of the weapon dry.

Covers and Caps

2-13. Use rifle covers and muzzle caps to keep blowing debris and dust out of the muzzle and ejection port area. Cover mounted machine guns when possible. Keep your rifle’s ejection port cover closed and a magazine inserted.

Humid Environments

2-14. Keep in mind that, in more humid environments such as jungles and swamps, you will need to use more lubrication, more often, on all metal parts. Temperature and other extreme weather conditions also factor in.

Desert Environments

2-15. Corrosion poses little threat in the desert. Avoid using too much lubrication, because it attracts sand.

Note: Maintain all issued equipment and clothing based on the specific care and maintenance instructions provided.

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