How to Carry a Wounded Soldier


Wounded soldiers can be carried by one or more able-bodied soldiers. A litter is prescribed in the U.S. Army's "Soldier's Manual of Common Tasks," if one is available. However, the SMCT outlines three other methods: the neck drag, the fireman's carry and the cradle-drop drag. These methods should be used when a litter is not available unless they will cause further injury to the wounded soldier. Wounded soldiers are called "casualties," regardless of the extent of their injuries.

Things You'll Need

  • Litter

Litter Carry

  • Place the litter on firm ground beside the wounded soldier.

  • Roll the casualty to his side, stabilizing his head and neck as much as possible. Stabilize the casualty's neck regardless of the injuries he has sustained.

  • Slide the litter beneath the casualty as far as possible. Slowly lower the casualty to the litter.

  • Grasp the casualty's clothing, arms or legs to pull him to the center of the litter. Secure him to the litter using litter straps. If no litter straps are present, use tactical reasoning and determine whether his belt or another piece of his uniform can be used to secure him to the litter.

  • Carry the casualty to safety by grasping the handles of the litter.

Neck Drag

  • Grasp the casualty's hands and instruct him to clasp them together. If the casualty is unconscious, tie his hands together at the wrists.

  • Position yourself on all fours over the casualty and instruct him to place his arms around your neck and clasp his fingers together firmly. If the casualty is unconscious, tuck your head between his arms so his wrists are resting on the back of your neck.

  • Crawl forward. The casualty's bound wrists or clasped hands will pull on your neck, dragging the casualty beneath you until you reach safety.

Fireman's Carry

  • Straddle the casualty. Determine which side of his body is less injured than the other. Roll the casualty to his stomach, avoiding the injured side if possible.

  • Interlock your fingers beneath the casualty's chest. Walk backward until the casualty's legs are straightened and he is in a standing position with his back touching your chest.

  • Raise the casualty's arm on his less-injured side. Duck your head beneath his arm so his arm is around your shoulders. Turn your body so you are facing the casualty. Wrap both arms around the casualty's waist so it appears you are hugging him.

  • Grasp the casualty's arm. You must again use the arm on the casualty's less-injured side. Pull the arm to the non-dominant side of your body.

  • Squat with the casualty's arm firmly in your grip. Pull the casualty across your shoulders by turning your body away from his while grasping his arm. When the casualty's body is bent over your shoulders, his head, neck and shoulders will be on one side of your head. His legs will be on the other side of your head. Stand erect and begin walking.

Cradle-Drop Drag

  • Roll the casualty to his back. Face the casualty so his head is near your feet and you can see the casualty's entire body. Kneel on the ground just above his head and slide your hands beneath his shoulders. Grasp his armpits firmly.

  • Raise your body while holding the casualty's armpits firmly. The casualty will be in a sitting position with his arms dangling at his sides.

  • Walk backward, dragging the casualty with you.

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