Episode 200 Mike Lamonica Combat Control Foundation Transcript

This transcript is from episode 200 with guest Mike Lamonica.

[00:00:00] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for tuning into the Drive On Podcast where we’re focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran active duty guard reserve or family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio.

[00:00:18] Scott DeLuzio: And now let’s get on with the show.

[00:00:21] Scott DeLuzio: Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today my guest is Mike Lamonica. Mike is an air force veteran who serves on the combat control foundation’s board of directors and the combat control foundation provides care and support to combat controllers, their families, and other members of the military community through its programs or through partnerships with similar charitable organizations.

[00:00:49] Scott DeLuzio: And so. Here today to talk about the foundation and everything that they’re doing to help out the community, that they are a part of. So welcome to the show, Mike, I really appreciate you taking [00:01:00] the time to come on the show.

[00:01:02] Mike Lamonica: Hey Scott, thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here and always a good opportunity to get the word out, right?

[00:01:07] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. So for the listeners who may not be familiar with you and your background why don’t you tell us a little bit about your.

[00:01:16] Mike Lamonica: Yeah, no, that’s great. Thank you very much. So again, my name is Michael Monica. I spent 24 years in the air force as a combat controller. When I retired, I was the chief of the, of our entire group, which is all our folks around the globe.

[00:01:29] Mike Lamonica: No. I was stationed in many places. So the pipeline for comeback tours about two years long. So I spent my first couple of years in training and then you know, I was stationed in Washington state and went to Germany. I spent a lot of time in North Carolina. Working with our tier one needed there, or as an instructor or a, we have a couple other units there and then went back to the core for a little bit with Dennis finish my career off in Florida.

[00:01:50] Mike Lamonica: And you know, I just had the benefit of these surrounded by great people, my whole career and high grade assignments and get to do the things that come back controllers do which is always a pretty big question in of itself. How back for what [00:02:00] is that? Right, right. So it probably makes sense for me to talk a little bit about that.

[00:02:04] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. That was actually going to go into deep. My next question. So that would be great. If you could tell us a little bit about that for the people who may not be familiar with combat control and what you guys do.

[00:02:15] Mike Lamonica: Yeah. So, let’s start off about what special operations courses are like each branch of the service has their own special offers support, and they have unique missions, right?

[00:02:23] Mike Lamonica: Special forces do foreign internal defense and seals do. Introduction on boats and things like that. They ended up doing some stuff on land as well. Same thing with the Marines Marines, have a Marine support mission. What, with the air force we have combat controllers and pet rescue kind patrol specifically.

[00:02:41] Mike Lamonica: We’re there to help.

[00:02:45] Mike Lamonica: Incorporate aircraft into the ground order of battle if you will. So that takes many shapes and forms as a combat controller. The base of our job is their truck patrol. We all go through air traffic control school and are all certified or truck patrollers. The difference between us and the [00:03:00] lurch, our patrollers, the way we get to work, which is a special operations skill set.

[00:03:03] Mike Lamonica: If you will, we Parachute. We all die. We ride motorcycles. We repel, we fast stroke, all the unique ways to get to work. The things we do is gonna affect my first assignment. When I was an airman, I was on a winter warfare team. So I would spend a lot of time in Alaska either scheduling or cross-country skiing or even downhill skiing, things like that just to get to work.

[00:03:22] Mike Lamonica: And then once I got there, I had to do my job. And, you know, so where does it come back? Controller’s job. Well, first and foremost, we’ll go to an area and we’ll look for places to Deland airplanes, where airplanes don’t land. So we know what the criteria is for aircraft, all different types of aircraft, and we can serve in an area to make sure that.

[00:03:40] Mike Lamonica: The runway is wide enough and long enough to handle the aircraft that all the geometry in the local area can support that plane coming in. And he says emergencies and things like that which we survey, we get that approved. We then land the airplane, Berkshire patrollers, right? We can bring them in and take them out.

[00:03:53] Mike Lamonica: We continue to assess the runway as it degrades that we can tell people, literally this landfill can handle five more landings [00:04:00] to take off. And that, that lets planters in the rear understand how much stuff they could push onto the battlefield. Animal is a great example. So in 1991, when we invaded Panama combat controllers, for some of the first people to go in there on helicopters to bring into the assault forces and land aircraft we did the same thing in Afghanistan.

[00:04:19] Mike Lamonica: When we were in dry lake beds, many airplanes were planes warrants, personal land. Then what we end up doing from there as we pushed combat controllers out with different teams. So Rob gases, special forces teams, or seal teams or Rangers, even coalition forces. I spent some time with the British SAS and what we bring to them is long haul communication.

[00:04:36] Mike Lamonica: So either it Jeffers satellite communications, but more importantly, the ability to talk to airplanes and drop bombs on bad guys. I often tell people that combat controllers are translators. We know what the. Commander needs. And we translate tests with the pilot needs to hear so they can do what they do.

[00:04:53] Mike Lamonica: And then we can tell the ground force commander, why a pilot is telling him they don’t want to do something. We’ve put it in their terms very succinctly. So [00:05:00] that is fundamentally the nature of combat controllers. We control airplanes. We bring air force to the fight and we’re typically not that deep.

[00:05:07] Mike Lamonica: There’s usually one or two of us with with an entire ground force to to bring air power, to bear on.

[00:05:13] Scott DeLuzio: That’s a lot for just a handful of guys to be able to go out and bring in. It’s such a powerful asset, but the air power that comes in, whether it’s landing in delivering troops or cargo or whatever the case may be, or even like you said, dropping bonds on bad guys, all of those things are incredibly important to the success or the failure of any mission.

[00:05:36] Scott DeLuzio: And so that has to be an awfully stressful job for for people to do when you’re out there. And it’s maybe just yourself or. A small team of guys who are out there trying to accomplish this mission. You know, so, so what’s the stress like stress levels, like in those types of operations?

[00:05:55] Mike Lamonica: Well, it’s pretty high as you can imagine.

[00:05:57] Mike Lamonica: So, you know, with these that failed to talk about it is we also have a [00:06:00] humanitarian mission. So, And at the same stress level applies there. So, go back to hurricane Katrina in new Orleans, when her Katrina, hurricane Katrina wet that area out, we had combat controllers, landing helicopters, and airplanes on roads to go in and bring in relief and then take people out and bring an aid.

[00:06:15] Mike Lamonica: And those types of things did the same thing in Haiti in 2010. And just last August, the same exact thing in Haiti. After the earthquake, a show where there are natural disasters on a global scale, you’ll find combat controllers are doing their job. And like you said, that is a high pressure situation, right?

[00:06:30] Mike Lamonica: You put five to 12 guys on the ground running an airfield, either in humanitarian crisis or in in combat where you have one combat controller with a. Team from either another service or even another country. You’re the only person there, you know, w when we would rotate guys into Afghanistan, we’d send a guy, a combat controller in, and it’s been seven months with whatever team they were with.

[00:06:53] Mike Lamonica: And they were the new guy. The second they got on the ground, it was, Hey, you’re my combat controller. Great. And they wouldn’t [00:07:00] know your name for the first couple. We said, just call the air force. Cause you know, you. But you’re literally making a life or death decisions. You’re in a firefight to the ground force commander saying I went bounced off on that target and you’re looking at him usually isn’t saying, should we catch up on some that I know you want to, but we can’t.

[00:07:17] Mike Lamonica: Here’s why now if we manipulate the battlefield a little bit, I may be able to get you there support. And many times they’re able to drop the bombs, but. So in hospitals and mosques and civilian casualties in there that combat controller sometimes look bad news to the ground force commander. And that’s tough thing.

[00:07:31] Mike Lamonica: You’re underground. You’ve only been there a couple of days. You’ve got an officer from another branch of service yelling at you, telling you what he wants and your job is to be calm, cool, and collected assess what’s going on, apply the rules of engagement to the battlefield and advise your ground force commander what he can and can’t do.

[00:07:47] Mike Lamonica: And nobody getting shot at once to hear what they can’t do. So, Yeah, it takes a lot of work to train a combat controller, especially a young combat controller to be able to do that, give them, armed them with the information to do it, [00:08:00] armed them with the skills, do it on the, with the wherewithal to look somebody in the eye and say, I never getting shot at, but right now we’ve got to do something different.

[00:08:07] Mike Lamonica: It’s a lot of stress for anyone.

[00:08:10] Scott DeLuzio: Oh, it certainly is. And to have that confidence when you are, like you said, , and you’re talking to the ground commander and telling them, no, I can’t do this. Or w this is not an option right now. You have to have a little bit of confidence behind you and know that, okay.

[00:08:27] Scott DeLuzio: That, you know, your stuff that you’re telling them the right thing, and that you’re accurate in your assessment of the situation because you don’t want to be telling the wrong thing to the wrong people and especially in a combat situation. Literally lives are at stake and people could get killed.

[00:08:42] Scott DeLuzio: So I can only imagine that the amount of stress that a combat controllers have to go through plus all the other things that you guys do, like you were talking about you know, parachuting fast roping, you know, all these other skillsets that you have on top of. Knowing how to land the planes, get the planes to [00:09:00] where they need to go and everything else that goes with that.

[00:09:03] Scott DeLuzio: So, yeah, definitely a lot of stress involved there. I can only imagine. So what about let’s fast forward a little bit, and let’s talk about the combat control foundation and what that’s all about and how it got started, how you got involved with it and what it does for the people who are out there in the combat control community.

[00:09:23] Mike Lamonica: Yeah, let’s start with the need. Right? So, when you look at a community like ours is a high risk community just getting to work gets you hurt, just training to get to work gets you hurt, right. Crash motorcycle. You know, as a young guy phoned the offense one time under a parachute. None of that’s good.

[00:09:37] Mike Lamonica: Right. So we have a high injury rate. At doing high risk missions, which means you’re getting shot at more than the average person. So your chance of being wounded or killed in combat are greater. And then the longer term effects of all the stress you’re under, whether it’s the stress of you having a tough conversation with the ground force commander, or you’re constantly planning and moving out on missions.

[00:09:58] Mike Lamonica: Cause you’re turning every single [00:10:00] night. You’re losing teammates along the way. And. By definition, when you bring your power to there, you are feeling bad guys on the battlefield and you’re not just killing one of them. Literally in the early days were in Afghanistan when it was the wild west bigger combat controllers, killing thousands of people at any given time.

[00:10:17] Mike Lamonica: Entire Ridge lines of Taliban who were shooting at us and assaulting us were dropping bombs on that entire Ridge line, taking people out by the hundreds. That all wears on you over time. And over the past 20 years, we’ve seen the affection that the you did injuries or building up, or the stress is building up and manifest in substance abuse, some sort their sleep problems, their domestic issues their relationship issues.

[00:10:43] Mike Lamonica: So, we’ll come back. Control has been around since 1953, and we’ve had people doing this type of. Ever since then it has become more acute in the past 20 years merely because our country is a 20 year war and that war was really tailor-made for the skill [00:11:00] sets of callback controllers bring to the table.

[00:11:01] Mike Lamonica: There was a period of time in the early days of the war. Special operations seed. We’re allowed to grow out of there a forward operating base to engage the enemy without a combat controller, because the estimates are God nature of what we do. 12 people with air power can take on hundreds of thousands of people.

[00:11:17] Mike Lamonica: Those same 12 people, well, highly trained and good at what they do. And he didn’t have the will to go out there and do it. You’re just not as effective because there’s an attrition aspect of that. So w. The past 20 years of all that’s been going on, we’ve been seeing the negative effects of guys going out and doing this job.

[00:11:35] Mike Lamonica: And we just realized we needed to take care of them. For years, decades, we had an association message. Association was great about bringing people together. If we really need to help somebody to be passing the hat around the association and we could help take care of our people, but we weren’t able to do it on scale.

[00:11:50] Mike Lamonica: If you look at some of the other foundations out there, they raise a significant amount of money. And we just decided we needed to do this. We need to take care of our people and their family. So that’s where we started. We started [00:12:00] at three years ago, we really just kind of got our licenses. Last year, we were raising decent money and as soon as we started raising money and started advertising to people pay, we have money.

[00:12:08] Mike Lamonica: We’re here to help you guys problems began to surface even more people called. I’m struggling. I need some help. Sometimes it’s somebody who’s dealing with PTSD and we need to help to quickly get them into a system because the VA doesn’t move fast enough. Sometimes it’s substance abuse and we get them to a system over there or a facility that can help them deal with that.

[00:12:25] Mike Lamonica: Other times, it’s things where the VA the air force has gaps. What I won’t do is I won’t pass the VA in the air force. They go up there and they do the best they can, but they’re big bureaucracies. Right. I had a guy who worked with. Over a decade ago, he called me back in January and he didn’t realize it was part of the foundation.

[00:12:40] Mike Lamonica: She just called me to talk to anybody. I’m struggling with some things. She will tell me what’s going on. He said, well, I got Ned 19 years. I separated in October. I haven’t received one dime from either the VA or the air force since then. And the house, my weapon I bought, we found black mold and we spent all our savings.

[00:12:57] Mike Lamonica: They’d dumped $50,000 to health and welfare of their [00:13:00] house because you can’t live in a house. It’s got black mold. And if he broke down on the phone, he said, man, we’re struggling to eat meal to meal. I immediately called John wacky, who’s our CEO of the foundation said, Hey, here’s what we’ve got going.

[00:13:14] Mike Lamonica: We definitely should help this family. So John came in and he gave them some very quick financial bridge money to, to get them through, do they did affect. And John and I reached into the air force to people we know who said, Hey who can we call to help solve this problem? And they connected us with a person.

[00:13:28] Mike Lamonica: We connected our guy with them and they’re working off his backpack as. We think they’ve kind of got everything fixed and he’s gonna start getting backpack. So it’d be taken care of, but that’s the type of stuff that foundation helps take care of. It’s not just PTSD, it’s not just gunshot wounds. It’s not just helping families and children action, actually, helping people solve very real problems that are acute to them.

[00:13:49] Scott DeLuzio: And that’s important because there are a lot of people who are probably out there struggling on their own, just like this person that you were talking about, who. [00:14:00] I have sort of lost faith in the system where they may have gone to try to get some assistance and they’re either turned away or the process is just taking too long and they just give up on it and they say, okay, well I’ll just figure it out on my own.

[00:14:19] Scott DeLuzio: But there are organizations like yours who are out there. Who want to help? Who can offer some, like you said, some financial assistance, some other assistance to get them back on their feet so that they aren’t struggling by themselves. They can help get the help that they need. In a much faster manner, because like you said, those big bureaucracies not to bash them at all, but they’re not the fastest moving organizations.

[00:14:52] Scott DeLuzio: Right. But when you have a a smaller, much more nimble organization like yours, you’re able to make the moves and do the things that are needed to be [00:15:00] done in a much faster manner. So. It’s excellent that organizations like this even exists because you know, if it, if we all just relied on the VA or the air force or the army or Navy or whatever it would probably just bog the system down too much and we wouldn’t be able to get nearly as much done just relying on those few organizations.

[00:15:20] Scott DeLuzio: So, so I appreciate that you guys even exist to be able to do this type of stuff.

[00:15:27] Mike Lamonica: Yeah, there are other aspects to it as well. Right? So unfortunately, most people in military are familiar with this, right. We have a high suicide rate and we get that phone call about once a quarter. And there’s nothing more devastating in that phone call.

[00:15:44] Mike Lamonica: So how do we get in front of it? How do we try to prevent that? Or how do we help quickly? Right. It. If I’m thinking about suicide, less place, I’m calling into the da I’m calling where my bruise and one of my bros, the bro network then [00:16:00] spreads it. And we had, we’ve had that call. Hey, Joey’s has a bad spot.

[00:16:03] Mike Lamonica: We will put Joey’s best friend on a plane to get him to him that night. And while he’s on his way there, we were finding a place to help Joey deal with Joey’s dealing with the dags. Can’t move that fast again. It’s not an indictment of them. They are a big governmental system and they have processes.

[00:16:17] Mike Lamonica: They’ve got. We don’t. If somebody needs a dog while we want to validate that the things that the guy says happened to him happened, we’re a small community. We can do that. I’ll go buy a dog tomorrow. If that’s going to help somebody prevent from doing something more tragic. We’re also working with the active duty force.

[00:16:32] Mike Lamonica: So we met with wing leadership. About three weeks ago, we sat down and said, what are the things you need help with? Because you can’t do everything yourself. And for them, they said, resiliency, help and transition assistance. So we built programs around that very specific thing, right? We as they host resiliency, there are certain portions that we will come in and help fund to make it a good event, not just for the member for he and his wife or he and his child.

[00:16:56] Mike Lamonica: And then as far as transition assistance we’ve connected with a couple [00:17:00] organizations, one that helps us teach guys how to transition one that helps us get jobs for our folks. And then another one that helps us engage the VA intelligently, most boats, that people, when they get out, they think they’re going to the VA we’re normal, annual physical.

[00:17:14] Mike Lamonica: So that’s how they behave. The fact is that something he’s doing to VA’s running a checklist on you and they really don’t care that you flew into a fence 20th. They wouldn’t understand the effect of it. So when you teach somebody how to engage the VA appropriately, then they get a more appropriate rating, which impacts them for the rest of their life in tax and financial.

[00:17:31] Mike Lamonica: And it impacts them with their healthcare and their benefits. So we partnered with an organization that as we raise money, we’ll say, Hey, we’re going to fund this much. We’ll push guys in that program all day long. And if they say, Hey, you’ve run out of money. They will get more money we’ll fund was in there, but the goal is to help folks as they transition out.

[00:17:49] Mike Lamonica: So they don’t get to that terminal point where they feel.

[00:17:53] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, because that helpless feeling, you almost start thinking right at [00:18:00] that point where you feel like there’s nobody out there that there’s nothing left for you all hope is lost. All that kind of stuff starts running through your head. And it may not even be.

[00:18:12] Scott DeLuzio: There’s an organization like this out there who can help solve that specific need that you might have, or even in a more holistic approach where maybe it’s more than just one specific need where maybe you’re having trouble at home because. You’re having trouble at work and that you’re not making enough for the you know, the family situation that, that pops up.

[00:18:36] Scott DeLuzio: And so it’s creating all sorts of issues. Right. But if you can get drilled down to the root of those issues you know, you can start to improve many things throughout the person’s life. And so, you know, things like what you guys are doing went back, transition assistance that even just.

[00:18:52] Scott DeLuzio: Searching and all that kind of stuff could really help the overall picture, not just that one small [00:19:00] subset of the issue that people are dealing with right

[00:19:03] Mike Lamonica: now. That’s correct. W we you know, we just had a thing happen this weekend. Somebody called me and said, look, one of our gold star mothers is having.

[00:19:13] Mike Lamonica: So they called me and explained what was going on. And I reached out to her. I happened to know her and say, Hey, I heard there’s some things going on. She’s yes, should we got it? And she explained to me, you can hear the distress, right? You can just hear it building up in a smoke. If you’re somewhere here right now, he’d be helping you with this.

[00:19:28] Mike Lamonica: Right. She. Where your sons now let us help you with this. And that changed the conversation cause she hadn’t looked at it that way. She looked at it as her problem that she had to solve as an adult. That was definitely true. Right. We all have our problems. We’ve got to solve. So her son was killed in combat and he’s not there to help take care of her.

[00:19:46] Mike Lamonica: So that’s what we should be doing. So we reached in and we said, okay, here’s a couple of things we think we can do for you. Some of it financial, some of it in other ways. And it was just, you could hear the stress come out of her voice Schmidt. Thank you. I’m grateful. [00:20:00] And she’s gonna come to our fundraisers so she could help spread the word of what an organization like this can do, because there’s a lot that we can do.

[00:20:07] Mike Lamonica: And it’s our job to raise funds and take care of our people. Nobody will take care of our combat controllers and their families better than we will a central.

[00:20:17] Scott DeLuzio: And that’s great. I’m glad that you guys are doing all of this stuff for the people who are out there in this community, whether it’s their families or the veterans themselves, or the people who were involved in this.

[00:20:31] Scott DeLuzio: I know a lot of times people. Like you were saying, they might be a little bit too proud and they might just look at this as, this is my problem. I need to take care of this. I need to figure it out. So they may or may not be quite as willing to reach out to get the assistance that you’re offering. But if they are looking for that assistance or even if they have a friend or family member who wants to reach out, where can they go to get in touch with you to get the assistance that they are looking for?[00:21:00]

[00:21:02] Mike Lamonica: Yeah, some of you give a bit of a nuance response and then I give the very clear cut one. So, the kind of actual association, the foundation, we are connected, we are built like this so that we don’t separate. So the first thing I would say is if you ever come back. You should join the association, go into combat control team and join.

[00:21:20] Mike Lamonica: And the reason for joining is it’s that you can pay dues and she, you have to show up to any of that. You’re in a system and you know how to connect with your teammates, not just for you. If you hear somebody who’s having trouble, you now are into the network and you know how to connect with people because you know, 4, 6, 8 years after you’ve got that.

[00:21:36] Mike Lamonica: If you’re not. You’re out of the graffiti, don’t know how to connect into it. So the association is the way to do that. So come to our events so that you can just come and spend time with your teammates. And we all have struggles, every single one of us. There’s value in us talking to each other about it, even if it’s just over a beer at the VA or at a reading, something like that, just the more nuanced response there.

[00:21:56] Mike Lamonica: The very clear response is. If, you know, if somebody [00:22:00] can need help, go into combat control that team type in a message saying, I know somebody needs help, who can help me. And we will pick up the phone and call you very quickly. My phone number is (253) 973-2865. Call me, or text me, tell me who you are and what you’re looking to do.

[00:22:16] Mike Lamonica: And I will make sure that we connect as quick as possible. The situation where I was telling you, we had a guy who hadn’t gotten paid in four or five months, and he just wiped her moving to build the meal. Within four hours of contact of him calling me, we had money in his bank account to he and his wife could not have to figure out where their next meal was coming from.

[00:22:36] Mike Lamonica: Money is not always a solution. So the next day is when I was talking to the air force within 12 hours of talking to him, I was talking to somebody of equal, right to me in the air force, explaining to them what was going on. I told him I needed their help and they responded. Not everything can be solved in for eight or 12 hours.

[00:22:55] Mike Lamonica: Our commitment is we will respond as soon as you let us know. And we were strung with [00:23:00] veracity that required.

[00:23:02] Scott DeLuzio: And when you have a group of people who. Have practiced all these years of training and actually doing these types of missions that require a calm, cool, collected approach in very high stress situations.

[00:23:21] Scott DeLuzio: You probably have a group of people who are. Ready willing and able to help out in any way that they can. And they’ll move mountains to get things done. I’m sure. Just based on some of the stuff that you’re talking today, talking about today, it seems like it, that’s just a no brainer like that.

[00:23:38] Scott DeLuzio: That’s too easy and that’s just what you guys will Excel at. Right.

[00:23:44] Mike Lamonica: That’s a fact that it actually goes both ways. Right. Anybody who I surround myself would tell you, I don’t ask for help. I was trained to be this independent autonomous person to go get things done and I’m not allowed to make excuses.

[00:23:56] Mike Lamonica: That’s how we all are. So we won’t ask for help. That’s the value of being [00:24:00] part of an association or staying in contact with your teammates? Because we know each other like siblings, right? Somebody can look at me and go, there’s something wrong with like Mike is having a bad day. And when they call up and ask about it, I may talk about it, but I’m never going to openly go, Hey, I need help.

[00:24:14] Mike Lamonica: So by being in the fold, you’re able to look up better for your teammates. You’re also allowed to be around your teammates. Your teammates can be looking out for you. Rarely do I get the phone call where somebody says I need help. I always get the phone call and says, I saw Joey yesterday. Joey’s struggling.

[00:24:29] Mike Lamonica: Can we reach out to Joey? And once you do takes 10, 15 minutes to get Joey to break down a little bit and go, okay. Yeah, here’s what’s going on. And then we can figure out what we can do to help. Sometimes he doesn’t need help. Sometimes he just needs to talk. Other times he needs something tangible and it’s our job to help them figure out how to do that.

[00:24:46] Mike Lamonica: And many times it’s us pick up the phone call and somebody’s like, I’ve called the VAT points and you’re not doing this thing you’re supposed to do for this person. Help me understand why. And a lot of times it’s a miscommunication. So just having another person there to help advocate for [00:25:00] you matters.

[00:25:00] Mike Lamonica: So yeah, we do have a strong team behind each other. I know that I call of my friends and they would give me the shirt off their back in. And a second, the problem is I won’t spend two seconds on self-help. So we are, we’re a bit of a dichotomy in our personality.

[00:25:15] Scott DeLuzio: Right. And it’s good to be a part of that community where people are looking out for each other.

[00:25:19] Scott DeLuzio: And so that the association that you’re talking about I think Eligible to be part of that association, combat controllers and everything. I think you guys should definitely. Be a part of that organization, that association and look out for each other. That’s probably the best way, especially if for any of the listeners, if what Mike was just saying resonates with you.

[00:25:42] Scott DeLuzio: If it’s, if you’re that type of person who knows that you’re not going to reach out for help on your own just your personality or just kind of what you’ve been trained to do or not to do, I guess, in this case, Join the association, because there’s going to be people out there who are looking [00:26:00] out for you, and they are going to recognize when you need the help.

[00:26:03] Scott DeLuzio: Not just like a crutch thing, but like a real legit need. And you may not need anything right now, but who knows five, 10 years from now, you might need something. And that’s where this type of support and organization comes in. So definitely reach out and join that organization. That way you’re able to get that assistance when you need it.

[00:26:25] Scott DeLuzio: The foundation and everything that you guys are doing, like any nonprofit organization you have your financial needs, you know, you talked about all the financial things that you help people out with. You probably need some volunteers that can help out with events and other things that you have going on.

[00:26:42] Scott DeLuzio: If one of the listeners is up there and they want to make a donation or volunteer to help out in one way or another what are the needs that you have and how can they reach out to get in touch to, to volunteer and everything else?

[00:26:56] Mike Lamonica: Yeah. So for donations we welcome all donations. A dollar [00:27:00] helps us, right?

[00:27:00] Mike Lamonica: Any dollar that comes in, even if it’s $1 or we have a person who habitually donate $30 a year, but he previously did it to the association. Now he’s transferred that to the combat control foundation and. I think some folks would go over, which is $30 by you. 30 more dollars we had yesterday. And it will go to a grid cost to actually help somebody on the frontline to need something.

[00:27:23] Mike Lamonica: So any donation is welcome and that is best done on our website. Combat control by team grabbed donate button, and we made it as easy as possible. So any donations are great. Volunteers are always welcome. We have programs that we’re studying. Very specific to how we take care of our spouses or how we take care of health and welfare were running scholarships for the children of our, of our teammates.

[00:27:44] Mike Lamonica: We’re also got programs around our growth to our families. So if somebody wants to volunteer to be part of that with us, absolutely. We’d love to have those people on our team. Again, go on the website. You can send us a message saying here’s who I am. Here’s what I’d like to hear. I’d like to [00:28:00] volunteer time or how can you use me or, Hey, here’s some specific, I have.

[00:28:03] Mike Lamonica: The other thing that we do a great job of is we partner with other organizations and I’ll give you an example. So I told you how. We are helping people navigate to VA well, project one veteran at a time that is run by one of my teenage diaries. I spent 20 plus years working with and we partnered with him.

[00:28:21] Mike Lamonica: I don’t need to read that the wheel. So if there’s another organization out there, it says, Hey, CCT, combat control foundation. I think I can help you. Give us a holler because we absolutely want to partner with organizations. I don’t want to go spend a whole bunch of money building something that already exists.

[00:28:36] Mike Lamonica: I would rather get the money in that’s the organization’s mission. They are what they say they are and it partner with them and share the funding to make sure that we’re taking care of our people the appropriate way. The day that. One organization owning everything and building it from the ground up their guard.

[00:28:50] Mike Lamonica: It doesn’t make sense. It’s inefficient. I said, I’ll give you some donors dollars and we want to make sure that we are good prudent vendors of our donor’s money because they were hard for giving to an [00:29:00] organization is difficult. You have to make sure they’re a good organization. Well, where we’re going to live up to that.

[00:29:04] Mike Lamonica: We are going to be the best organization out there. And we’re going to make good use of every dollar that comes with.

[00:29:10] Scott DeLuzio: And that’s excellent. So anyone who is looking to make a donation or reach out and volunteer again, combat control.team is the website go there click the donate button or send them a message.

[00:29:22] Scott DeLuzio: Let them letting them know that you want to help out. Or if you have an organization that you want to get involved and partner up. Get in touch, I’ll have that link in the show notes so that anyone can grab it from there. If you’re not in a place where you can write it down right now, like in the car or something like.

[00:29:43] Scott DeLuzio: Check out the show notes. You can grab it from there later. Mike, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today and talking about the combat control foundation, learning a little bit more about what combat controllers do and the stresses that are placed on them. I think that’s one of those [00:30:00] jobs in the military that you know, even as a veteran myself you know, I knew it existed, didn’t know a whole lot about it.

[00:30:06] Scott DeLuzio: You know, I think it’s a crucial piece of what we do around the world in different operations that we take part in. And so I really appreciate you coming on, taking the time to share not only the foundation, but what combat controllers face on a day-to-day basis. I really do appreciate you joining me and sharing all of that.

[00:30:28] Mike Lamonica: Hey, Scott, thank you. And your teammates and drive on a private we’re grateful for the time he gave us. We’re excited about things that we’re doing in the future. And, you know, I talked a lot about combat control, but I’ll also tell you that we’re not just helping combat controllers. Every military organization has a whole bunch of support around them, right?

[00:30:42] Mike Lamonica: So we have radio maintenance, peoples parachute, riggers flight, support, people, all those things. And they’re part of our team as well, while just the combat control today. Anybody that’s connected with our community that needs help. We’re, helping take care of them because it’s the right thing.

[00:30:56] Mike Lamonica: They committed to a lifetime and put their lives on the line to [00:31:00] help defend this country and support our guys in the field. Our job is to take care of them for the rest of their lives, and that’s what we’re going to do. That’s

[00:31:06] Scott DeLuzio: excellent. Thank you again. I appreciate your time.

[00:31:09] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website driveonpodcast.com. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at drive on podcast. .

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