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Special Forces Berlin
by James Stejskal









Personnel Recovery (PR)

Personnel Recovery (PR)

Personnel Recovery (PR) is an important mission that all of the military services are responsible for. Each of the services has units specially trained to conduct the PR mission.

PR Definition:

"Personnel recovery is the sum of military, diplomatic, and civil efforts to affect the recovery and reintegration of isolated personnel. Isolated personnel are those US military, DoD civilians, and DoD contractor personnel (and others designated by the President or Secretary of Defense) who are separated from thier unit while participating in a US-sponsored military activity or mission and who are, or may be, in a situation where they must survive,evade, resist, or escape." http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/PRPO/about.asp

Personnel Recovery Websites -  Military

Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. CONR-1AF (AFNORTH)

Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA)

Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) Facebook

Joint Personnel Recovery Agency by WikipediA

Army Personnel Recovery Proponent Office (PRPO).

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA)

Personnel Recovery Mission Software (PRMS)

U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue (CG-SAR)

U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) J358 Personnel Recovery

Angel Thunder PR Exercise. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Angel Thunder PR Exercise - Facebook

Angel Thunder - DVIDS

Personnel Recovery Websites - Non-Military

Joint Personnel Recovery Annual Conference

Personnel Recovery and Combat Search & Rescue Forum

Mountain Rescue Association

NASA Search and Rescue (SAR)

National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR)

Rescue Coordination Centers (RCCs). NOAA.

Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT). NOAA.

USAF Pararescue. That Others May Live.

Afghan War News - PR Pubs and Online Training Resources

PR Group - LinkedIn

Personnel Recovery References

CJCS References

CJCS, Personnel Recovery, CJCSI 3270.01B, 23 January 2015. This instruction implements DoD PR policy responsibilities.

CJCS. Department of Defense Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Psychology Program, CJCSM 3500.11 Series.

Department of Defense Instructions

DoD. Code of Conduct (CoC) Training and Education, DoD Instruction 1300.7, 8 December 2000.

DoD. Isolated Personnel Training for DoD Civilian and Contractors, DoD Instruction 1300.23, 20 August 2003.

DoD. Non-Conventional Assisted Recovery in the Department of Defense, DoD Instruction 2310.6, October 13, 2000.

DoD, Personnel Recovery and 406 MHz Search and Rescue (SAR) Emergency Beacons in the Department of Defense, January 11, 2013. Incorporating Change 1, Effective April 25, 2016.

DoD. DoD Personnel Recovery - Reintegration of Recovered Personnel, DoD Instruction 3002.03, 15 July 2013. Incorporating Change 1, April 26, 2016.

DoD. DoD Personnel Recovery - Non-conventional Assisted Recovery (NAR), DoD Instruction 3002.04, November 17, 2014

DoD. Personnel Recover (PR) Education and Training, DoD Instruction O-3002.05, April 12, 2016.

DoD. Intelligence Support to Personnel Recovery, DoD Instruction 3115.10E, 24 March 2006.

Department of Defense Directives

DoD. Training and Education to Support the Code of Conduct (CoC), DoD Directive 1300.7, 8 December 2000.

DoD. Personnel Recovery, Directive 2310.2, December 22, 2000

DoD. Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), DoD Directive 5110.10, 21 September 2005.

Department of Defense Joint Publications (JPs)

DoD. Personnel Recovery, Joint Publication 3-50, December 20, 2011.

DoD. Noncombatant Evacuation Operations, JP 3-68, 23 December 2010.

Department of Army Field Manuals

DA, Special Forces Personnel Recovery, FM 3-05.231, June 2003.

DA, Army Personnel Recovery,  FM 3-50, September 2014.

DA, Army Personnel Recovery, FM 3-50.1, November 2011.

Department of Army Policy

DA, Department of the Army Personnel Policy Guidance for Overseas Contingency Operations, 1 July 2009, (updated 22 May 2012).

HQDA, ALARACT 098/2010, Updated Guidance for Personnel Recovery Mission Software (PRMS) and Pre-CONUS Travel File (PROFILE).

Department of Army Regulations

DA, Personnel Recovery, Army Regulation 525-28, 5 March 2010

Miscellaneous References

CALL, Army Personnel Recovery Handbook, No. 09-25, April 2009.

USMC. Policy for Personnel Recovery and Repatriation, MCO 3460.2, 2 December 2002

United Kingdom. Joint Personnel Recovery, Joint Warfare Publication 3-66, April 2003.

Department of the Navy. Personnel Recovery. OPNAV Instruction 1000.24C, February 12, 2009.
http://doni.daps.dla.mil/Directives/ . . . /1000.24C.pdf

HUMINT References, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2

Interagency References

USAID, Personnel Recovery Program, ADS Chapter 572, 23 Feb 2015

Code of Conduct - Executive Order 10631

Personnel Recovery Training

Personnel Recovery Education & Training Center (PRETC)

Personnel Recovery Academy

Personnel Recovery - Online training by Doctrine Networked Education & Training.

Defense Imagery Management Operations Center (DIMOC). PR CD/DVD courses available at this site.

Papers about Personnel Recovery


White House. FACT SHEET: U.S. Government Hostage Policy,  June 24, 2015


920th Rescue Wing. 304th Rescue Squadron Fact Sheet, August 7, 2014.


Villamizar, MAJ Cesar Rolon and MAJ Andres Fernandez Osorio, "The Challenge of Combat Search and Rescue for Colombian National Army Aviation, Global ECCO, November 2013.

Fairchild Air Force Base. Joint Personnel Recovery Agency Fact Sheet, July 15, 2013.

Falcetto, MAJ Nicholas. "Tactical Personnel Recovery: Bridging the Gap Between TTPs and the Dedicated PR Structure", Infantry Online, Fort Benning. May-June 2013.


Rowell, LtCol William J., Whole of Government Approach to Personnel Recovery, United States Army War College, 2012.


Joint Air Power Competence Centre, Personnel Recovery: That Others May Live to Return With Honor - A Primer, January 2011.


Ecklund, Marshall V. and Michael A. McNerney. Personnel Recovery Operations for Special Operations Forces in Urban Environments: Modeling Successful Overt and Clandestine Methods of Recovery, June 2004. Thesis for the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.

Patrick, CW4 John D. and Major Eric A. Patterson, "SF Personnel Recovery: Some Thoughts on Planning", Special Warfare, Vol. 16, No. 3, February 2004.


Patterson, Eric A., Unconventional Assisted Recovery (UAR) Historical Case Study Analysis and Quantitative Feasibility Assessment, 2001. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.

Videos about Personnel Recovery

DoD, Operation Angel Thunder 2015 Exercise Events, YouTube.com, June 13, 2015.

DoD, Personnel Recovery Training, April 18, 2015. the 303rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron conducts personnel recovery training and Aerial Refueling, outside of Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, Africa.

PR Topics

Blood Chits. Personnel designated as having a high-risk of capture (Special Forces, pilots, CIA agents, etc.) are issued blood chits. These are carried to request aid from people in enemy territory. A reward is promised to anyone assisting the person to safety. The blood chit is easily folded, made of a waterproof cloth, is regionally based, and in several languages. They are also serial numbered. Learn more about blood chits on the website of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Read also JPRA Blood Chits on the JPRA website.

Evasion Charts (EVCs). The EVC is primarily a navigation aid intended to assist personnel isolated in uncertain or hostile environments. In addition to the map, EVCs contain survival and evasion marginalia. The EVCs are made of Tyvek and are strong, durable, and waterproof.

Isolated Personnel Guidance (IPG). IPGs and IPG Summaries provide concise SERE and PR information and guidance for specific countries and geographic areas to operational planners, SERE briefers, and US military an dDoD contract and civilian personnel. Avialable only on classified networks.

Isolated Personnel Case Based Studies. The Isolated Personnel Case Based Studies briefly describe significant events experienced by an individual during isolation or detention.

Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs). PLBs are portable radio distress signaling units that operate much the same as Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (for use on boats/vessels) or Emergency Locating Transmitters (for use on aircraft). PLBs can be activated manually and operate exclusively on 406MHz. All PLBs have a built-in, low-power homing beacon that transmits on 121.5 MHz. This allows rescue forces to home in on a beacon once the 406 MHz satellite system has gotten them in the general area. Read more about PLBs on the AFNORTH website. Read about beacon development on the NASA SAR website.

Pointee-Talkees. A language guide that contains English phrases, the same phrases written in a foreign langauge, and the foreign phrase writtne phonetically. The evader selects the desired English phrase, points to the translation of the phrase beside it.

Personnel Recovery Terminology

Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR). The tactics, techniques, and procedures performed by forces to effect the recovery of isolated personnel during combat. (JP 3-50).

Evasion and Escape Net (E & E Net). A legacy term used by Special Forces from the 1950s and later describing methodology for returning evadees, escapees, downed pilots, and others from a hostile area to a friendly-controlled area. Usually set up by an SFODA or SFODB Intelligence Sergeant. In a UW environment the Intel Sgt, utililizing the underground and auxialliary, would set up the E & E Net utilizing UW and clandestine procedures and processes. Authientification was usually accomplished through Fingerprint Identification System (FIS), the Dental Identification System (DIS), and authentification questions. The E & E Net term was replaced with "Recovery Mechanism (RM) - see definition below. (Old Timer's Recollections).

High Risk of Isolation (HRI). Personnel whose position and/or assignment makes them particularly vulnerable to being isolated, captured, and exploited by adversary forces, terrorists, or unfriendly governments.

Isolated Personnel. U.S. military, Department of Defense civilians and contractor personnel (and others designated by the President or the Secretary of Defense) who are separated from their unit (as an individual or a group) while participating in a U.S. sponsored military activity or mission and are, or may be, in a situation where they must survive, evade, resist, or escape. (JP 3-50).

Joint Personnel Recovery Center (JPRC). The primary joint force organization responsible for planning and coordinating personnel recovery for military operations within the assigned operationsl area. (JP 3-50).

Joint Services Training Program. A closely coordinated, specialized course of instruction conducted at the direction of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The program nomenclature is synonymous with S-V82-A and SERE 245. The Services and CCMDs identify high risk of isolation personnnel requiring this training. (CJCSI 3270.01B).

Non-Conventional Assisted Recovery (NAR). Personnel recovery conducted by indigenous or surrogate personnel that are trained, supported, and led by special operations forces, unconventional warfare ground and maritime forces, or other government agencie's personnel that have been specifically trained and directed to establish and operate indigenous or surrogate infrastructures. (JP 3-50).

Personnel Recovery (PR). The sum of military, diplomatic, and civil efforts to prepare for and execute the recovery and reintegration of isolated personnel. (JP 3-50).

Personnel Recovery Coordination Cell (PRCC). The primary joint force component organization responsible for coordinating and controlling component personnel recovery missions. (JP 3-50).

Post-Isolation Support Activities (PISA). The debriefing of a non-DoD recovered person combined with activities to promote or support their physical and mental health, and other activities that facilitate the return of the recovered person to military or civilian life as expeditiously as possible. (CJCSI 3270.01B).

Recovery Mechanism (RM). Designated infrastructure in enemy-held or hostile areas that is trained and directed to contact, authenticate, support, move, and exfiltrate U.S. military and other designated personnel to friendly control through established indigenous or surrogate networks operating in a clandestine or covert manner. RM's include, but are not limited to, unconventional assisted recovery mechanisms and may involve the use of a recovery tema. RM replaces the DoD term and definition of E&E Nets. (DoDI 2310.6, Oct 13, 2000).

Recovery Team (RT). A entity, group of entities, or organizations designated, trained, and directed to operate in an overt, covert, or clandestine manner in enemy-held or hostile areas for a specified period to contact, authenticate, support, move, and exfiltrate U.S. military and other designated personnel to friendly control. (DoDI 2310.6, Oct 13, 2000).

Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE). Actions performed by isolated personnel designed to ensure their health, mobility, safety, and honor in anticipation of or preparation for their return to friendly control. (JP 3-50).

Unconventional Assisted Recovery (UAR). NAR conducted by Special Operations Forces (SOF).

Unconventional Assisted Recovery Coordination Center (UARCC). A compartmented special operations forces (SOF) facility or organization staffed by personnel to coordinate, synchronize, and de-conflict non-conventional assisted recovery (NAR) operations. The UARCC interfaces  and coordinates with the JOC, joint search and rescue center, component rescue coordination centers (RCCs), SOF RCC, and the special activities cell. (JP 3-05.1).

Unconventional Assisted Recovery Mechanism (UARM). UARM encompasses SOF activities related to the creation, coordination, supervision, command and control, and use of recovery mechanisms either in support of Combatant Commands, or as directed by the National Command Authorities. UARM's may involve using an unconventional assisted recovery team. (DoDI 2310.6, Oct 13, 2000).

Unconventional Assisted Recovery Team (UART). A designated SOF RT that is trained and equipped to operate for a specified period in hostile territory in support of personnel recovery. (DoDI 2310.6, Oct 13, 2000).

News Reports about PR

October 29, 2015. "How this elite Air Force rescue squadron's mission has evolved in Afghanistan", Stars and Stripes. A PJ from the 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan is interviewed about his job.

September 3, 2015. "There is always a first: The 1st Expeditionary Rescue Group Activation", U.S. Air Forces Central Command. News report about the activation of the 1st Expeditionary Rescue Group to support Operation Inherent Resolve and operate across the Levant Area of Operations.

May 28, 2015. "ANGEL THUNDER's Non-conventional Assisted Recovery in Flagstaff", Desert Lightning News.

February 21, 2013. "You're a SEAL Stranded in Hostile Territory: What's in Your Survival Kit?", by Mark Thompson, Time.com.

Firms Providing PR Training and Services


S3 SOLKOA Survival Systems




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