Ground guiding safely
Pfc. Jamal Brown, 1st Calvary Division, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, ground guides a cayman into a narrow parking spot during a training exercise on Contingency Operating Base Basra, Aug. 6.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. - Every year, Soldiers and Civilians are seriously injured and killed in ground-guiding accidents.

However, safety officials agree most of these accidents are preventable.

"Ground guiding is a task almost every Soldier performs," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Marc Assumpcao, senior logistics officer, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center. "When it's not executed safely, Soldiers' lives are in jeopardy."

Ground guides are necessary components in repositioning equipment and vehicles. They serve as a vehicle operator's eyes, and if a guide or driver does not execute the proper procedures, the outcome can be devastating.

Recently, a Soldier was fatally injured while ground guiding an LMTV in preparation for convoy operations. She became pinned between two vehicles and later died.

"Efficient vehicle operations and the safety of Soldiers depend on clear and accurate communication among ground personnel and the use of arm and hand signals," Assumpcao said. "For standardized visual signals, leaders and Soldiers should be familiar with Field Manual 21-60 and Graphic Training Aid 17-02-091.

"Ground guides are an efficient way to mitigate risks and ensure vehicles are not traveling too fast for high-risk or populated areas," Assumpcao continued. "They assist equipment operators in identifying potential hazards, obstacles and personnel they may not otherwise see."

Safety is about protecting our Soldiers, equipment and Army resources, whether in garrison or on the battlefield, Assumpcao said. Leaders must enforce training and integrate risk management into all phases of operations to mitigate hazards.

More information on ground-guiding procedures is available at

Page last updated Tue January 15th, 2013 at 11:52