follow them. Usually frontline troops, especially those
employed several miles forward of the forward edge of
the battle area, shoot first and ask questions later.
Contacting these troops is, at the very least, sensitive
and a calculated risk. However, in the absence of an
opportunity to contact a friendly patrol, contact with
frontline troops may be your only alternative.
Generally, frontline troops are told to honor the display
of a white flag or another white object and to advance
the unknown person to be recognized.
Once back in friendly hands, youll naturally want
to talk about your exploits and will undoubtedly receive
countless questions from frontline troops. However,
that is the time you should remain silent. If you talk at
this point, you may endanger the lives of those who
helped you. In addition, you may compromise methods
other service personnel might use to evade the enemy
and get out safely. Give only information of immediate
tactical importance to frontline units. Advise the first
officer or petty officer contacted that you are returning
to duty from missing in action, prisoner of war, or
internment status. Then request to be taken to someone
authorized to receive evasion and escape information.
These survival techniques are but a few of the ways
you can stay alive and live to return to friendly forces.
You can gain an in-depth knowledge of survival,
evasion, and escape techniques through special training.
The Navy provides this special training at survival,
evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) schools located
at strategic locations throughout the world.
If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means
available. I will make every effort to escape and aid
others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special
favors from the enemy.
Code of Conduct, Art. III
What happens if you become a prisoner of war
(POW)? After all, it is possible. Isolation, fear, and
injury all work in favor of the enemy to increase your
chances of capture in spite of a determined effort on
your part to evade. The surrender of your arms,
however, does not mean you forfeit your
responsibilities as a member of the American armed
forces. The armed forces Code of Conduct directs
that you begin planning your escape the minute you
are taken prisoner.
Escape is tough; making it work is even tougher. It
demands courage, cunning, and much planning in
seeking ways out, determining what routes to follow,
and locating friends. Above all, it demands physical
stamina under the worst conditions imaginable.
Experience has proven that model camps with regular
rations and considerate treatment are the exception. But
no matter what extremes you encounter as a POW, try to
keep yourself physically able and sufficiently equipped
to escape as soon as possible.
If captured, try to make your escape early. You
may never be in any better physical condition to
escape than at the moment you are captured. Prison
rations are barely enough to keep you alive; they
certainly wont supply you with a reserve of energy.
The physical treatment, lack of medical care, and
insufficient rations of prison life soon have effects
such as physical weakness; night blindness; and loss
of coordination, reasoning power, and morale.
There are other reasons for making your escape
early after your capture. Friendly artillery fire or air
strikes occurring during that time may increase your
chances of getting away. The first guards you will have
are not as well trained in handling prisoners as those
farther back from the front lines. Some of the line guards
may even be walking wounded who are distracted by
their own condition. In addition, you know something
about the terrain where you are captured, and you know
the approximate location of friendly units. Several days
later and many miles away, you may be in strange
territory. An escape from a prison camp is much more
difficult and requires more detailed planning. It must be
organized and supported as any other military
operation. The method you should use to escape
depends on your particular situation. The only general
rules are to make an early escape and to escape when the
enemys attention is distracted.
Save, Add to, Take Care of (S-A-T)
Since the conditions in various POW camps differ,
it is impossible to provide a specific escape or survival
plan for each situation. What you need is a guide to help