7. The contents of the message if the situation
post and is replaced by another upon each company
8. Special instructions, if any.
Communication by Messenger
For an oral message, the messenger must be
required to repeat the message to the sender, to
When time permits, a message should be written;
memorize it, and to deliver it word-for-word.
however, oral messages are often necessary. A complete
message must answer the questions of what, when, and
where; but a message should be made as brief as
possible, omitting words that do not add to the meaning.
A written message should be printed in plain block
Oral (that is, voice) communication is often difficult
letters; individual letters contained in the message
or impossible under combat conditions. At times,
should be spelled out using the phonetic alphabet (as,
complete silence must be maintained. Under such
Zulu for letter Z). The name of the command authorizing
conditions, signals are used to transmit commands or
the message and the name of the command to which it
information. Three types of combat signals are used:
is being sent must be written in the message. The actual
1. Whistle signals
writer of the message must sign his name and rank or
2. Special signals
3. Arm and hand signals
Understanding combat signals is important for a fire
team. Make sure you become thoroughly familiar with
A combat messenger must be trained carefully in the
each signal described in this section. Bear in mind, too,
that practice in the use of combat signals is essential if
1. How to deliver messages, either oral or written.
the signals are to be used effectively.
2. How to travel over various kinds of terrain at
3. How to use a compass for orientation and
As a rule, only three whistle signals are used, since
a large variety could cause confusion. The following
4. How to read maps.
three are commonly used whistle signals:
5. How to select routes that provide the best cover
1. ATTENTION TO ORDERS is indicated by one
short blast on the whistle. It is used to fix the attention
6. How to recognize units and command posts with
of unit members on the unit leader who gives the signal
which communication is maintained.
and means that other signals, orders, or commands are
2. CEASE FIRING is indicated by one long blast
on the whistle. This signal is verified immediately by an
Each messenger must receive a briefing with the
arm and hand signal or by some other means.
3. HOSTILE AIRCRAFT or MECHANIZED
1. The name and location of the post, unit, or
VEHICLE is indicated by three long blasts repeated
person to whom the message is to be delivered.
2. The route to be followed.
3. The danger points to be avoided.
4. The speed required.
Special signals cover all the special methods and
5. Whether or not an answer is required.
devices used to transmit commands or information.
Rifle shots or automatic rifle bursts maybe used when
6. Where to report in case the message cannot be
the entire command knows their meanings and the sound