Methods for Searching an Area

In searching an area, the Marine will be looking for target indicators. There are two techniques for searching an area: the hasty search and the detailed search.

Hasty Search. When a Marine moves into a new area, he must quickly check for enemy activity that may pose an immediate danger. This search is known as the hasty search and should take about 30 seconds, depending on the terrain.

Quickly glance at various points throughout the area rather than sweeping the eyes across the terrain in one continuous movement. The Marine should search the area nearest him first since it poses the greatest potential for danger.

This method of search is effective because it takes advantage of peripheral vision. Peripheral vision enables the detection of any movement in a wide area around the object being observed. For this technique to be effective, the eyes must be focused briefly on specific points (i.e., areas that may provide cover or concealment for the enemy).

Detailed Search. A detailed search is a systematic examination of a specific target indicator or of the entire observation area. A detailed search should be conducted immediately on target indicators located during the hasty search. The detailed search should be made from top to bottom or side to side, observing the entire object in exact detail. If multiple indicators were observed during the hasty search, the detailed search should begin with the indicator that appears to pose the greatest threat.

After a thorough search of target indicators, or if no indicators were located during the hasty search, a detailed search should be made of the entire observation area. The 50-meter overlapping strip method is normally used.

Normally, the area nearest the observer offers the greatest potential danger and should be searched first. Begin the search at one flank, systematically searching the terrain at the front in 180-degree arcs, searching everything in exacting detail, 50 meters in depth. See figure 10-1.

Figure 10-1. Searching the Terrain in Overlapping Strips.

After reaching the opposite flank, systematically cover the area between 40 and 90 meters from your position. The second search of the terrain includes about 10 meters of the area examined during the first search. This technique ensures complete coverage of the area.

Continue the overlapping strip search method for as far as you can see.

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