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What should I include in a Terrain Model Kit (TMK)?

This is a loaded question since everyone has their own preferences and requirements. The major issue is being able to balance weight with functionality and having enough items to represent your future operations by giving an organized, clear and concise brief. Over the years there have been thousands of combinations created but based on our 40 plus years of experience in the Special Operations Community working with government and non-government organizations, multinational coalition task forces and interagency efforts, a simple terrain model that is labeled with the correct symbols and terminology is easily understood by all. In order to reduce the weight, many items can be made out of MRE containers, other items that you are carrying for your mission or can be found in the environment. For example, use a MRE package to represent a building; use sticks to outline your grid coordinates.

However, one of the most difficult items to create are the labels that communicate what each item represents. Most of the time, leaders tear out a piece of paper, write on the paper and then stick it in the ground which is difficult to read and see. Another big problem is that it gets wet when it is raining or blows away because there is nothing securing it. Based on these issues, we recommend:

  • Waterproof and weighted labels with NATO approved graphics
    • Unit symbols (Team, Squad, Platoon and Company)
    • Rally, linkup and control points (ORP, LOA, etc)
    • Mission Control graphics
    • Mission sets (Ambush, recon, etc)
    • Weapon Systems (crew served and fire support)
  • Pointer
  • Multi-colored yarn or chalk
  • Nails or some type of small spikes
  • 550 cord
  • Sharpie
  • OPORD Notes Card
  • Tactical bag to secure all the items

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