Pace Count Measuring
by 1SG Timothy J. Carroll, Jr.
Military forces have used the pace count for a few thousand years to measure distance, and it continues to serve as a valid measurement method. Analysis and Control Element (ACE) and Analysis Control Team (ACT) NCOs can really benefit if they apply this simple method.
Know the pace count of every part of your operation! Knowing the pace count for an expanded M925A1 5-ton vehicle (6 by 12) is a key piece of information. Recording the pace count for all vehicles, power-cables, generators, camouflage spread, and tents in your operation can significantly reduce frustration and increase safety when laying out or setting up an operation (units may use different operational configurations of tents and/or vehicles due to changes in resources, mission, or terrain). It is important to develop a chart for each configuration, laying out the pace count for where each vehicle, tent, and generator is to be placed. Another important tip: know your cable length. Setting up a site only to find you need to move a generator over two more feet to get a cable to reach the system can be very frustrating! It is also good practice to verify the pace count once the operation is in place.
The configuration chart can reduce conflict during a site reconnaissance. Once you know the key starting point for your part of an operation, you can easily pace and stake the boundaries, followed up with the exact site for each piece of equipment. For instance, the division ACE, where I worked, normally linked into the other components of the Division Main Command Post (D-MAIN) at the rear left corner from the entrance. The G3 SGM would stake this point and give us some time to evaluate our site. We laid our operation 90 to 180 degrees from his point. We paced diagonally at 135 degrees (having previously paced our own operational footprint) and posted a stake at the far corner. Then we visualized the boundary lines. If we didn't have enough space, the G3 SGM made adjustments to the heart of the operation (a tractor/trailer rig we fondly called "The Whale") until we had the space we needed.
This simple and time proven method can make your operation more efficient while increasing safety.
First Sergeant Carroll is at the NCO Academy, Fort Huachuca, Arizona. You can contact him at (520) 533-4221, DSN 821-4221, and E-mail email@example.com.