The Pathfinder course teaches the student how to locate, identify, and operate rotary and fixed wing drop zones and landing zones. The Pathfinder student is taught to navigate dismounted, establish and operate a day/night helicopter landing zone, establish and operate a day/night CARP (Computed Air Release Point), GMRS (Ground Marking Release System, and Army VIRS (Voice Initiated Release System) parachute DZ, resupplying door bundles (CDS, JPADS, HVCDJ), drop zone requirements, conduct sling load operations, provide air traffic control and navigational assistance to rotary wing and fixed wing airborne operations.
Students serve as members of a Pathfinder team during one FTX, and are graded when serving as team leader or assistant team leader. The Pathfinder course requires students to devote off-duty hours to study. Airborne qualified students will jump during the course from both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft
The primary cause of failure in the Pathfinder Course is the sling loads hands on evaluation.
Prerequisites/ Administrative Requirements
- Rank: Cpl-Capt.
- MOS: Combat arms MOS.
- Assigned to or en-route to a billet requiring pathfinder skills.
- Copy of current Airborne physical within 5 years if Airborne qualified.
- Airborne Qualification: Desired but not required.
- Must arrive on fully funded orders.
- Orders must state “These are Hazardous Duty Orders”.
- Must have a Reserved Seat in ATRRS (No exceptions) 45 days prior to course pickup.
All students must report with a conversational knowledge of Pathfinder Handouts contained on the below website. Special attention must be placed on the "Slingload Handouts."https://www.infantry.army.mil/airborne/pathfinder/handout.htm
Students are to report to the office of the Marine Corps Detachment at Harmony Church, 8th Division Road Bldg 5141 in the utility uniform. Students should report NLT 1200 on Friday prior to the course convening. Students who arrive after working hours or on the weekend will report to Pathfinder Branch at 0600 on Monday for in-processing. Marine Corps Detachment personnel will brief all students at Pathfinder Branch during Training Day 1.
All students will reside in the BOQ/BEQ ($36.00 through $40.00 per night). Check-in times are 2 - 6 p.m. unless reservation is guaranteed with a credit card for late arrival. Requests for reservations and further assistance can be made by telephone at (706) 689-0067 ext. 2800 or ext. 2538. Olson Hall is located in Bldg. 399 aboard Ft Benning. In the case where the BOQ is full, a statement of non-availability must be obtained.
Government messing is impractical for use. Personnel will rate the daily proportional meal rate of $23 and daily incidental rate of $3.
Due to the extended distance from the BEQ/BOQ/town lodging to the Pathfinder School, commands need to authorize travel via POV to the course if possible, or grant the Marine authorization to have a rental car. In either case, Marines must have a mode of transportation to and from the school.
See Pathfinder page for supplies that are recommended at https://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/199th/airborne/pathfinder.htm.
- 4 sets of utility uniforms - reference ALMAR 007/08 for appropriate seasonal uniform.
- Rigger’s belts are not authorized.
- Eye protection (sunglasses acceptable during the day; however, must have clear lens for the night).
- Day bag (24-72 hour assault pack).
- Water source (such as a Camelback or similar item)
- Bring cold weather gear Sept-May.
- Command Issued Fleece watchcap and gloves
- Gortex Top/Bottom