Leaving evidence of presence is a key part of the US government’s effort to locate, identify, and recover personnel should they ever become lost or captured. According to Article V of the Code of Conduct, there are multiple appropriate ways to leave behind evidence of presence and these include: using physical markers such as beacons or smoke signals; leaving items of significant personal value behind; and before departing an area, leaving behind markers, signs, and messages that can be quickly understood by those looking for you.
Physical markers can include beacons and smoke signals that have long been used to attract the attention of potential rescue parties. Beacons can be as simple as lighting a signal fire or erecting flag poles with distinguishing flags. Smoke signals, in the form of collumns of smoke from a fire, can be seen from considerable distance and are easily identifiable.
Leaving items behind is also a great way to signal your presence. This can be done by leaving items around the area containing special items of personal value to you, such as jewellery, watches, or mementos. These items are easy for rescue personnel to recognise and can lead them to your current or former location.
Finally, before you leave an area, it is important to leave behind markers and messages that those looking for you can quickly understand. This can be done by writing down contact numbers, names, and messages of instruction on paper or in the dirt. It can also include leaving behind signs or symbols in a language that can be easily understood.
Leaving evidence of presence is essential to ensure that personnel lost or captured in the line of duty can be found and recovered. It is important to remember all of the appropriate means of leaving evidence outlined in the Code of Conduct, as these are essential tools for survival should the need arise.