What It's Like to Step on a Landmine

What It's Like to Step on a Landmine

Posted by Steve Cassidy on Apr 05, 2024

Steve Cassidy: 0:00

Hey everybody, thanks for listening in. Have you ever wondered what it's like to step on a landmine? Well, now we're getting ready to find out what it is. We got Michael Montoya, united States Marine Corps EOD, on the line. It's gonna tell us about when he was in Ukraine and what's going on from there. So get ready, take notes, strap in. We're gonna have some fun.

INTRO: 0:22
This is EOD Gear, improvised. Everyone in EOD has a laser calibrated eyeball and plenty of attitude to go with it. EOD-Gear. com "Initial success or total failure!" EOD Gear IMPROVISED.

Steve Cassidy: 0:51
Alright, hey, I've had enough of the intro. So, Michael, thanks for being on, thanks for having me. So you know we've we've stayed in touch. This is your third time on the show. Really grateful for having you on, and you know you had your incident back. Has it been a year yet?

Michael Montoya: 1:14
Not until June 7th.

Steve Cassidy: 1:16
Okay, so that's a that's gonna be a big day. So we've been, we've stayed in touch and then we got to. We ran into each other. You know, at Vegas at Shot Show, when we were exhibiting there, you came by the booth and you had your had your booth booth with you. So you know that was. It was great to see you, and then you were able to stop in here and we had a good time for a couple days here in Franklin Tennessee. So so now, just for everybody you know, I always like to ask you know where you're originally from? Where'd you grow up at?

Michael Montoya: 1:53
A little town at Old Air Force Base Goodfellow San Angelo Texas.

Steve Cassidy: 1:59
Okay. So was there? Was there a time where you were like when you were a kid and go man, "I'm gonna do something different?" I remember, because I remember I think it was in second or third grade there was some Vietnam movie on and it showed this guy jumped down into a hole to be a tunnel rat and he had his 1911 and I was probably nine and I'm like man, that'd be so cool. "What is wrong with you? So was there a moment when you looked back and go yeah, I'm gonna do something different.

Michael Montoya: 2:29
Yeah, absolutely. I remember it back in it was in the second grade Marine and, as a uniform, came in to come see his elementary school teacher and I was like, wow, that's pretty cool, I'm gonna, I'm going to, I want to do that and research it and we can always play. You know army or you know military stuff that's are growing up and would go to the Army Navy surplus store. So yeah, that's kind of the turning point when I wanted to be a Marine, was about to send great that's awesome, that's awesome.

Steve Cassidy: 2:59
So do you go right out of high school?

Michael Montoya: 3:03
Yeah, I graduated early, when I was 17 and went right into it. I had my birthday when I was in boot camp.

Steve Cassidy: 3:10
Nice, yeah, I did too, but I was a little bit older. There was no way when I was 18. There's no way I was ready to have somebody tell me what to do. But so you ended up in EOD, and so where were you stationed there?

Michael Montoya: 3:26
Well, I did Okinawa and then from there you know, we did the 31st Mu deployment to Iraq back in 2004-2005 and where it became a lat move and became an OJT. So I go to EOD school in 2005 after our deployment and after I graduated there I went to Uma, Arizona, at MCS UMA, and continued to do three more deployments from the Wing Station there.

Steve Cassidy: 3:56
Now you were, I think that wasn't that the one where you told me where you showed up. But even before you had left school, you already had orders, and we're heading back over.

Michael Montoya: 4:06
Yeah. So at the end of school, when I was in the last section of Newt's, about two weeks before I graduated, I got a phone call guy, you know. Someone walked into the classroom, "You got a phone call." and I was like oh no, this can't be good, getting pulled out of class.

Steve Cassidy: 4:20
Yeah, phone calls during EOD school are never good.

Michael Montoya: 4:23
Yeah, family member and you know they're death in the family like oh, who or what could have happened. I got on the phone and answer it and Chief Warrant was, like you know, you need to report such and such. You're going over to Iraq. And I was, like you realize I'm still in school. Oh, yeah, yeah, I mean, once you graduate, go directly to your unit. And you're going over to Iraq. You're a combat casual replacement. I was like, okay, walk right back into the classroom. Everyone's staring at me and they're like trying to figure out what family member died and was like guys, I'm going back to war already. They're like what? Yeah, it got a little interesting.

Steve Cassidy: 5:04
Yeah, it gets real, real, real fast. So you check in and then you're gone, and so now you're back in Iraq and then I guess you just got out, you didn't, you didn't retire out.

Michael Montoya: 5:19
No, no, no, got out in 20 April 2010.

Steve Cassidy: 5:23
Smart people do smart things. You get out.

Michael Montoya: 5:27
No, it's good to say but yeah, that's sometimes.

Steve Cassidy: 5:30
Sometimes it's just best to get out.

Michael Montoya: 5:33
Yeah, to each their own. I mean, some people are they got a certain thing they want to reach and at that point in my life I knew, okay, I'm done with this. I didn't like the way things were going. They didn't always like the way things were going with me, but that's okay, Everyone's up to their opinion. It was time for me to go and go do some contracting, working at you know, different places throughout the United States and around the world.

Steve Cassidy: 5:56
Yeah, so can you. Can you talk about the time between getting out and the run up to you waking up one morning, I guess, and going hey, I'm going to Ukraine?

Michael Montoya: 6:07
Oh, you mean like getting out of the military, yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. I mean I got out back, like I said, back in 2010,. Really kind of worked out at the human proven grounds out there and did that for about a year and a half where I kind of moved up, you know, through their system pretty quickly, was already spending so much time 60 to 70 hours a week at work, plus, you know, a 45 minute drive each way to get there and I was like I could make more money in this if I just go ahead and, you know, sacrifice all the time with the family while I'm overseas. So after that, in 2012, went over to work some of the counter ID, EOD, comO and IDD contracts over in Afghanistan for about a year and nine months or I left that and did the human behavior pattern recognition analysis, the ASAT and advanced situational awareness training, and so I was a trainer in that for a while and then in 2014, in October, shifted over to go do some training in Africa and kind of been there ever since doing different training from, you know, soldier skills training, counter ID training, nco training, like all the basic soldier skills, and that's when they came to me and another guy, stuart Miller and I, like, can y'all do an EOD course? And I was like, oh, absolutely Okay, you know it'd be pretty easy because I'm EOD and I got what. And I was like, yeah, some of my resume right there, oh, great, okay, cool. So me and him, in a matter of a two week period, got all the details and set up an EOD program for a 12 week period. They kind of followed an IMS, or to call IMS, EOD standards up to a level two and IDD basic, and it was only supposed to last for two cycles there in 2014. And then the program was still going when I left them in February of 2022. So it went from. You know, we don't mistake departments. It was just appeasing someone. They came over there and saw what we were doing, saw how organized we are and how well they were doing that. They were like, can you guys keep doing this? And yeah, so we continue to do it up until 2022, when we pass it off to the people the company we're working for. And they continued it and I don't know if it's shut down since then or what's become of it, but I got to work with some really great Ugandans and still work all throughout Africa from. You know Benin, zambia, you know Chad, niger, other places, plenty of places around there.

Steve Cassidy: 8:49
That's awesome. That's incredible. So what was the? What was the turning point? You, ukraine, lights off and that was what's that been now? Yeah, it's more well two years ago.

Michael Montoya: 9:03
Well, since the second real evasion, it's been just over two years Last, last month they it was an unfortunate celebration, but still, you know they it's an anniversary of that main push that they did with the, with the Russian forces and stuff in the Ukraine. I mean, stuff really started, you know, now a decade ago. So I had had very little chances to kind of help information wise and give some, you know, open source suggestions and stuff like that to help. Since the early invasion a decade ago, once 2022 happened, I was sitting in a hotel just outside the embassy and or bill, or the consulate, if you will, and you know, watching the vehicles go over and watching everything going and just sitting there and just like, if you get a chance to talk to Stu, you know, tell you, for about three days he didn't sleep at all and just turning, turning in your gut and just going. You know, you know what the right side of history looks like and and it was time to be part of the right side of history, regardless of political and other factors. And you know us in the OD, or myself and others, and even people who's run a military, we're protectors. We tend to help people and we tend to you know, fight for people. And that's kind of. That's kind of that turning point. I did have to suspend the trip over there initially because I needed to, you know, make sure my family was a still a family, because me being gone all the time almost drove a wedge between my wife. But I sacrificed everything I want to do, came back to her, we worked on our family and once we got to a point she's like I know this is eating you up. I want you to go do it.

Steve Cassidy: 11:00
That's. That's incredible, it's a great story, Absolutely so now. So now you're, you're in Ukraine, you're going to work and I mean you know what? What all were you doing there? Because I know there's the front lines and then you know, I know it's very fluid at that point. And yeah, I guess we'll eventually get to where the point. Last year, last June, but, yeah, just kind of like what was your day, like you know at that point.

Michael Montoya: 11:33
The biggest part is we went over there under some you know organizations, and so we're initially kind of helping with the training, trying to set up the mine action side, which they didn't decide to go with for a long permanent basis, which then led us to, you know, form our own. But we were working with the police, working with the state emergency services of Ukraine, working with some of the staffer units, initially with some training and how we do training, and what I've learned many, many times over the years is when we go in and do training, we don't come in there with a hey, you've been doing it wrong. Let me show you, you know, how to save the world. We go in there with eyes wide open, big ears and little mouth. We take a look at it because it's just another way, and so, as we observe them, we say how they're, you know, working their toolbox. We, you know, compliment them on that, and then we show them a few additional tools they can use when and if they need it, Because you know, the best mechanics have all the tools that they need. They don't always use them every day, and so that's what we want to do for them is make sure they had all those additional tools when they needed them. And we're working that way until we got a MOU with one of ministries which allowed us to work kind of in the buffer zone and do emergency like EOD tasks and work with the police up until a certain point. So we could do a lot of the stuff. But the demolitions had to be handled by the authorities. So that's why we would turn stuff over or be on a joint operation where they did the demolition while we observed and we're there to turn over all the items that have been located and, you know, collected.

Steve Cassidy: 13:20
Fantastic. Well, so because I remember you were moving up to, you said June 7th, Yep, June 7th, so I remember. So spring has sprung in Ukraine and I think you had posted something. You weren't real happy with all the all the growth that was going on. So what was happening? What was happening that morning?

Michael Montoya: 13:45
What that morning of the incident.

Steve Cassidy: 13:47

Michael Montoya: 13:48
Yeah, no, there was a lot of stuff. We're trying to organize stuff for that to get the authorities come over and deal with this or deal with that, and sometimes they've got a lot of stuff going on in Ukraine, so you're not always at the top of the list or maybe it comes up and needs to go, go, go, get it done. So we were going and observing another location that a team had seen some stuff, but they didn't have all the necessary equipment or all their experience for the team that was working in another location. So we went and assisted, found a whole other belt of anti-tank mines, did the initial marking and recording and recording of what we found and it was a mine strike with the tractor and we went ahead and set up the initial, started to find the two lines of mines faced about five meters apart, separated by a two and a half meter offset, and five meters every single mine after that, and so we marked the first initial like 10 meter buffer to the left and right and forward, and then it was going to be a massive belt, probably 500 to 1,000 meters long. I could just by looking at the field and that was just the first belt and you know we got information that in front of it there's another one, and then in the tree line there was, you know, some Mon 50s and this, and that that whole field and section was going to be an entire project on its own. And the problem with all those is we keep finding those entire projects day in, day out. So yeah, we initially started with that and then we returned to the field that we were going to do some stuff with a sapper unit.

Steve Cassidy: 15:34
Okay, so now were these placed or dropped?

Michael Montoya: 15:38
These were they were placed, but not not all more buried, but the vegetation at this point, remember, you know what do you call it? Ukraine is very, very good at growing things quickly, so a lot of vegetation, overgrowth and stuff, and so it takes time to kind of cut past and do things and yeah, and yeah. So that's kind of the big major point there.

Steve Cassidy: 16:07
All right, so you're going along and you're I guess you're working out in the field, or were you in the tree line?

Michael Montoya: 16:17
No, no, I was maneuvering out through this field, kind of through the safe lanes, and you know it's just a slight little kind of stumble, stutter, step, misstep slightly to the right and there wasn't even a full foot, a foot length off the path. You know what I mean. So just right there, just off the path, and and you don't, you know you don't notice the moment you step on a mind. Obviously it's kind of you. You figure it out over the next few moments.

Steve Cassidy: 16:50
So you were, because I remember I had heard you got hurt and I texted you and you sent me that picture from the, from the ambulance, yeah.

Michael Montoya: 16:58
Yeah, yeah.

Steve Cassidy: 17:04
So what is it? What was that? So you know clearly, you step on that and then you know it takes it takes a moment to register. I mean, what was that? Yeah, what was that feeling?

Michael Montoya: 17:15
Yeah, what it actually was was, you know, like one moment, you know walking the next moment, I realized I see blue sky and I see my knee. And so the first thought in my head I remember as, oh, I'm falling. So I just tucked my chin, that's all I did. And as I landed on the ground, you know I'm there for who knows how long half a second, full second, three seconds but I, you know, I've tucked my chin. I can see my knee. I go ahead and look between my legs. When you're looking downward between my legs, I rotate my foot inward and I see my toes are hanging, you know, on the inside of my foot. I go take my right hand. I remember just like waving it, you know, across my foot, you know from a distance I was waving across and I literally said to myself in my mind, going okay, I'm going to make, I'm an amputee, that's it. So whether it's, you know, because experience and because of training and because I've seen people go from, you know, injuries to recovery and anything and everything between I just already had memories associated with this, so I knew what was going on and at that moment, as I think, like training is so important, is so you have some kind of memory to any situation you go to, even if it's not, even if it's a new memory, you have something close enough that's going to put you into what's happening. So, yeah, I waved that off and was like, okay, I'm an amputee. And as I was sitting there with a big bang, my internal noise canceling headphones kind of kicked in. So I kind of heard you know, turn a kit, turn a kit, turn a kit. Whether that was in my own head screaming it or you know someone else screaming it. That's what went through my head and I rotated to the left, grabbed the turn kit off my belt and proceeded to open it and try to slip it over my injury.

Steve Cassidy: 19:19
Gotcha. So you were there and then now did you have anybody close proximity to you, or they came, you know, the crew came up.

Michael Montoya: 19:30
Yeah, it was close proximity because, like I said, we're coming within the safe lane. So it was, you know, a matter of 15, 15, 5, 10, 15, 20 steps away and they're on me. You know, by the time I got the turn kit open in my hands so that way I can just put it around my thigh. Someone else that already gotten up to me, looped it over my my injury and tightened it down on my just above the knee, and you know that the the messed up thing, you know whether it's our training or or whatever it can be like. After I just got the veil throw off and got it undone so I could wrap it around my leg, it just the other turn, it got applied. And so I remember in my head just dropping the turn kit on my stomach and going well, thanks, asshole. Like I was kind of busy doing that. But you know, I was thankful, but you know, but it's just what went through my head. I can't forget it.

Steve Cassidy: 20:31
Yeah, I bet now you had told me once you described it it kind of felt like a sledgehammer hitting you.

Michael Montoya: 20:38
Yes, yeah, I mean everyone thinks that, oh, you're gonna be in a midst of pain. I mean I wasn't screaming or yelling or doing anything like that. I was nice, calm and collective. You know I was talking to them. You know they're doing the assessment, doing initial checks, you know, running their hands across my leg to see any other bleeding points, and of course I'm like, okay, it's right there, right there, ripping my pants open a little bit more. Okay, there's no, you know, blood coming out there. And then you know, like I put my hand on one chest and I was like, hey, I'm okay, I'm okay, everything's good. You know, turn the kits on. I look back at Stu, standing, you know, just just over my shoulder too, on my side, and I, you know, put my hand up in the air like a little fist bump. I was like, hey, fist bump, you tapped my hand. I go I'm good, dude, bleeding's over, everything's fine. I, everyone, I'm okay. And you know you ever see that I'm not okay, but I'm okay. Like initial life-threatening things are done. You know I'm talking, I'm coherent, I'm responsive to the point. You know I'm passing my phones the Stu, you know but I dial the ambulance number. They hand it to him just to keep things going and yeah, but they injury itself on a one to ten, it was about a three. Yeah, you know, and I think most of this because you know it's like getting hit in the nerves for the sledgehammer and so therefore all that stuff that's in pain is essentially numbed by the impact of the explosion.

Michael Montoya: 22:10
So there is some pain, but it wasn't like screaming and white knuckle, like grabbing stuff well, I'm glad Stu was there because he's been on, you know he's he's been on a couple, you know, when you were on the other shows he got a little little word in there. But yeah, I'm glad he was there with you no, absolutely so from there, I mean it was, you were in Ukraine for a bit and then you left to was it Germany?

Michael Montoya: 22:41
yeah, I know so, I was. I was in Ukraine and from the side of the incident it happened right around I think what was that time one? You see there's 12, 30 or 130 off the look at. I had the time staff, so where the calls were made. So I think there's actually 12 30 local time in Ukraine when the incident happened. And then I was on the ambulance and that's when I went ahead and called my wife to let her know that I was okay, as I was going to the hospital and left her video message. And she called back and we talked and I let her know everything's okay, I'm fine, you know. Just like a 10 second message hey, dear, I love you. Stepped on a little land mine missing, missing part of my foot. Just call Stu and he'll let you know. So I still got the the message off to send it to you, but yeah so my first trip was to Harkiv, where I stayed in the hospital there until the third morning and I moved to Kiev and I stayed there for about eight days and Kiev moved to Lviv for a night and then moved on to Poland. I was in Poland, so I went to a hospital in Germany. I arrived there on July 3rd, so it was about a four-week adventure to get there.

Steve Cassidy: 24:02
Yeah wow, so did you have.

Michael Montoya: 24:09
You had some complications there with infection yeah, I mean with all these blast injuries and we saw it a lot when, everywhere in Iraq and Afghanistan, anywhere else, we've had blast injuries is things kind of get kicked up into your body and embedded and and even though the debridements and oh, by the way, the debridements were more painful than the actual injury itself, to the point, you know, 18 to 24 hours after those, that's that's for the painless, you know, because they're sitting there taking a scrub brush to your flesh and your nerves that are open. But I was awake for a few of them but numbed, you know, epidural and all that stuff. But when they hit a nerve they saw me try to stand up out out the table. But, yeah, we worked on all that stuff and I had the complications of the, of the infection that was in the bone and, you know, went on antibiotics for six weeks infusion. It was like two antibiotics they were using, one for three times a day for three hour infusion and one for four times a day at a three hour infusion. So for a good most of the day I was attached to IVs, you know, in order to try to figure out if we got the infection out or not. I didn't have a lot of bone left down there on the foot. I cannot. A modified shoepar what was that? I'm at like a modified shoepar, so if you're straight down your shin, I'm missing everything from your shin board okay, so you made it back to the states and so now it's time to re.

Steve Cassidy: 26:00
Now what? What I thought was funny is, when we were texting on the day this happened, you were saying, like, oh yeah, as soon as I'm healed up, I'm, I'm going right back, and I was like "Does your wife know this?

Michael Montoya: 26:12
so that's what I mean but clearly she's cool with it.

Steve Cassidy: 26:18
Mine's always like, "Don't you need to leave?"

Michael Montoya: 26:23
Yeah, no, absolutely and and all it comes down to is once I'm able to put it on the prosthetic, I finally got it back, after fine tuning a few times, and I have it here with me. I just started on a regime 30 minutes three times a day to kind of get my body used to it, build up the calluses where it's rubbing and then see if it's actually going to work, if we need to modify it further but once I'm able to put it and I can move around, you know, within a high degree of certainty, then I can go back to doing what I do. That's awesome.

Steve Cassidy: 26:57
Well, I know you were getting around pretty good when, in Vegas, I know you had your cart and you were here in Franklin, you were. You were getting around, all right. So yeah, I can wait to see you back up on, you know, with your prosthetic and being able to move around.

Michael Montoya: 27:10
No, absolutely. Yeah, that's a little nice. Gooder gets me around just fine, I'm pavement. But you know Good, now I'm the grass and stuff ain't going nowhere.

Steve Cassidy: 27:17
Yeah yeah, that's a tough one. So now you have two things going on. You have your company, but now you also have your. Now you're not for profit. Is that in the works? Are we there yet, your official?

Michael Montoya: 27:30
yeah, so no, absolutely we. We got the other one started just before the incident while Phil's group and that's our core profit we're going to be doing training and other things and then, since the event happened, we have Set up that we're going to do a nonprofit to keep doing the stuff that we want to do. You know, abroad, and that's the Invictus global response, and you know it's Invictus. You know Undying and yielding. Never defeated, and then we're globally. We're not just going to do this in Ukraine, although that's where our first major project is happening, and we'll respond to any incident anywhere we possibly help.

Steve Cassidy: 28:18
Well, rumor has it, there's mines around the world. I think there's something just about everywhere. Just about everywhere. Yeah, it's nuts, it's out there because you know we work with a lot of organizations and sending gear out to them and it's, it's amazing. The amount that's going out. And you know, I lived in and was stationed in Europe for seven years and I remember, at my village in Italy, I was there for 7 years. I was getting ready to PCS out and the landlord came up. It's like, hey, you're a Clearance guy, right? I was "Yeah." He goes there's a mortar up at the front gate and the you know the Italian EOD guys were already out there, they'd scooped it up, but it was an old World War II Remnant leftover that made its way finally back up to the surface.

Michael Montoya: 29:03
Oh, yeah, I mean yeah, it's, it's nuts.

Steve Cassidy: 29:06
How much is out there? And not just from recent, you know events. But yeah, Global Response. I mean you're qualified, I mean all over Africa and Eastern Europe and, probably, you know, everywhere else you've been. So yeah, you're definitely qualified to have "Global" in your title.

Michael Montoya: 29:23
No, absolutely. We've been many, many, many countries and done stuff, especially, you know, while working on their other companies. But you know, essentially now it's it's time to get it to be our own company, time to do the stuff that we're doing for others, to be the leadership, to be the company that is out there to find the yeah, to find the qualified people who are knowledgeable and experienced and get them to the places that need it.

Steve Cassidy: 29:59
That's awesome. So for you know. So how does somebody, whether they're maybe an individual that wants to work with you, or maybe they're a prime contractor who you know they have their, they have their place, they have all the large contracts, but they're always looking for subcontractors. How do we get a hold of you For Invictus Global Response? And then you know just just from that so who's your ideal customer and how do they get a hold of you?

Michael Montoya: 30:30
No, absolutely. Anyone who's requiring training Is an ideal customer. You know, a training or Operations or management or needs to get established somewhere because we have so many contacts everywhere we've been.

Steve Cassidy: 30:49
So the training do you want to do training here, CONUS, or you're gonna do mainly OCONUS?

Michael Montoya: 30:56
No, we're gonna do both. So we're looking at setting up a training school here in the US to train EOD, whether it's the IMAS standards or UXO tech, it's all stuff that we're in the works. We're small, we're little, but we're gonna start growing and we'll also do and facilitate Other types of training, as it deals a lot with counter ID or any explosive hazards, to include, you know, sponsoring some courses or doing some courses that incorporate blast injury type training or medical training On the on the lower level. So we're not training doctors here but, you know, to keep someone stable, some kind of All emergency procedure stuff.

Steve Cassidy: 31:40
Yeah, absolutely, that's it first in. Yeah, and use it literally anywhere in the world.

Michael Montoya: 31:46
Use it in a minefield, you can use it, you know, at your house if someone falls or cuts themselves or whatever may happen. You come across an accident, so I get hit by a car in front of you Just the basic stuff that could save someone's life is, is ideal and will be, will be able to provide that with a heavy focus especially on the explosive or the, you know, the military or security aspects of the world. So as we grow, we're not going to just do just EOD, we're going to grow into it physical security and everything else.

Steve Cassidy: 32:24
That's incredible. So what now? What is the website? I know it's Invictus Global Response.

Michael Montoya: 32:31
Oh, we got two of them in the for-profit and stuff, of course is the wild field group, that's com. That's where our sand. We're going to start going after some government contracts that basically help sustain Our lives is that can get veterans and get other people into it and get people work. And in our not-for-profit, our NGO, where we're currently on project you know, two of the guys are out there in Ukraine right now as we speak there's the Invictusglobalresponse. org and, yeah, so you know we're we got three pillars with that organization that we're mainly focused on, which is mine action and everything that encompasses that we're also going to do a humanitarian aid. So you know, not just the mine action, but what happens afterwards, or how do we keep the people sustained in there, whether it's building or setting up a kitchen, and In managing all this stuff, and then, of course, capacity building, how do we get people To be able to help and assist themselves for a long term duration? And so one of the biggest things we do that we're going to focus on is Also the management and collaboration of different organizations and agencies. You know, not one Organization can do it all. So and the people who are trying to hoard something or they're trying to like, just, we're the only game in town.

Steve Cassidy: 34:07
Yeah, they get.

Michael Montoya: 34:09
Yeah, they're not actually really doing anything other than holding on to it and keeping other people at bay and therefore, you know, maybe a detriment to the actual community. We want to fill the gaps. We want to identify every problem and then bring to be the solution of bring everyone in and going. We can't do this, but we know you three organizations can. Which one wants to come in here and help assist? Okay, we can do this. So we're going to start doing this. We can't do these other three things, but we know you guys can. Let's come together. And then the biggest thing is we don't want to just what's the old saying? Give someone a fish, feed them for a day. Teaching a fish feed them for a lifetime. We don't want to just be the people that give fish. We want to. We're going to empower the community to take care themselves, but that might be A requirement of resources being brought in, a certain training to retrain a mechanic in the town so that way they can fix tractors and generators and vehicles. You know, a tool set for the mechanic that lost all their stuff. Whatever may, whatever's required, but it's to empower the communities that we're in.

Steve Cassidy: 35:15
That's incredible. So what are your? What do you have? Some, you know, I know stew's over there. Stew, if you're listening, I want to get you on the show too, so just go ahead and set your calendar, let me know. What do you guys need right now? I know Stu's over there, so wave your magic wand, everybody who's listening maybe have something laying around you're not using. What do you need?

Michael Montoya: 35:39
No, absolutely. It's a multitude of things, but one of the biggest things we're doing right now is generating funds so that way we can sustain the team and the projects going. Right now, most of it's self-funded by the team and ourselves paying for it. We started getting donations in. One of the biggest items two items really that we're trying to get donations for is a vehicle to be able to get the team around so they can go do their assessments, do some of the training that they've already been asked to conduct. And then the other requirements we're doing is ambulances, whether it's one or two, in order to get it's part of the accreditation process to do humanitarian mine action under the IMAS standard there in Ukraine. So it's one of those requirements we've got to get. We're doing it a little bit extra beyond is when we get additional stuff and identify those things, we're going to be supporting the community we're in as well. So not only are we supporting the team whenever they're conducting stuff in an area, but when we're not conducting stuff in area, the team is available and ready to support the local community for whatever they may need. So that's why that's our biggest push. Other things, the course funds and then other items that we identify as we continue to grow and as we continue to progress. Right now we're small team but we're going to grow and our main focus is to actually grow within the communities and bring in the specialist as required into capacity build to get the community to continue to grow upon itself and protect itself and help itself.

Steve Cassidy: 37:23
Man, that's great, what a great mission. So really proud of you, man, for taking the hit and getting right back up and getting back after it. That's been, that's been cool. So hey, we'll wrap it up. What's the last word, what do you got?

Michael Montoya: 37:41
Oh, last word. The best thing to say is I mean, we're in it to win it. We're going to do great things and currently we're. One of the most humbling things I've had to learn over the last year is how to ask for help, and that's that's what I'm doing. Is we got to start somewhere and I'm asking for anyone, everyone's help in order to help us get to a position that we are affecting the greatest impact and change in supporting of communities worldwide, starting, of course, with our project there to train. So if you got old equipment you got old medical stuff or stuff that's just meant for training get ahold of us at the will get you an address and get it over to us and we'll start putting it to use. If it's something you're never going to use or something you don't care for anymore, We'll take it. We'll find some use for it. Even if we don't use it, we'll probably know someone who needs it and we'll get it to that end user. That's going to be the most impact and change. But financial support, equipment support, well wishes follow us on the social media, which you can find on our website.

Steve Cassidy: 39:02
Yeah, you guys are on. You guys are really strong on Instagram. You know, we post to Facebook, but I'm rarely on it. So are you guys? What all socials are you on?

Michael Montoya: 39:13
We are on LinkedIn, on Instagram and, of course, we're on X formerly known as Twitter.

Steve Cassidy: 39:29
All right, everybody. So yeah, let's go ahead and check out wildfield groups I'm sorry, wildfield groupcom and Invictus global responseorg. Send Michael a message, Let him know you know what you can do to help, and we're at least a word of encouragement and get out there. But all right, Michael, you I interrupted you what once? One more thing you got.

Michael Montoya: 39:58
I was just gonna add in there. You know, even if you can help spread the word, that's the biggest thing A great man told me recently. You know it's. It's not the 100 people, you know, it's the 100 people that those 100 people know and beyond. So that's it. Let's get the word out there and let's do great things.

Steve Cassidy: 40:19
Sounds great, Michael. Thank you so much and look forward to having you back on again.

Michael Montoya: 40:26
I appreciate all talk to you.

You've been listening to E O D Gear IMPROVISED! Steve Cassidy, a former Navy e o d tech and owner. Owner of E O D Gear. "Initial success or total failure!" Two locations, one in Franklin and one in Huntsville. The website is EOD-GEAR. com. Find us on Facebook, instagram, youtube, linkedin and Twitter. EOD Gear has customers from around the globe. Until next time, this is E O D Gear IMPROVISED signing off.