Episode 2

Troy Methorst

Steve Price: Troy Methorst joined the Australian army as an 18 year old and was deployed off shore at the very young age of 19 to East Timor. Troy, thanks for your service. But I guess given your dad was in Vietnam, he didn’t have much choice.

Troy: Well, funny enough, my mum, mom and dad didn’t really, I wouldn’t say, um, countable made to that, but there was always a lot of, um, T3 in the family and whether that was just in my awareness, I just felt drawn to it from probably from really young age. So I think I’ll one, all right, where I started to have like visions and dreams of joining the defense force. So, um, I was pretty keen, always running around the backyard, playing army and whatever. So I just had to send some, knowing that that was going to be where when my, my, my boss took me,

Steve Price: You can sort of understand why mum wouldn’t be keen. I mean, she would have had to go through a fair bit with your dad when he was offshore in Vietnam,

Troy: And they’re still still going through this stuff, the Vietnam era, um, you know, they, they suffered pretty heavily coming home and being, you know, that’s the word I was looking for vilified. And it took a lot of Vietnam veterans to reach out for help. Um, so I, you know, in doing star, a lot of them suffered quite heavily what for them to take in. So I’m very thankful that the Vietnam veterans did the work that they did and the wife, um, rehabilitation for veterans.

So he was in, uh, the engineer Corps, uh, caught the third field trip like yourself ended up in and he was, you told me one of the, the tunnel rats. Uh, I went up to Vietnam on a holiday and I went into some of those Vietcong tunnels, uh, in South Vietnam. I couldn’t get out of there quick enough. I mean, that’s pretty bribe work, working underground, doing that sort of stuff.

Speaker 1: I'm Steve price. I'm proud to be an Australian ambassador for wounded heroes, the first responders to our homeless and at-risk veterans providing emergency solutions right across

Speaker 2: Australia. They're starting to sell furniture and they're starting to sell engagement rings. They're Hocking their metals. They're Hocking the play stations for their kids to keep a roof over their head every day.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Year round wounded heroes provides these emergency solutions with no government funds.

Speaker 2: We just noticed there was a need for that immediacy of crisis funds, immediacy of being able to operate within one hour, 10 minutes, 15 minutes to do get food on the table, electricity to get some rent pays. They're not being evicted. And they saved my life, man. And they work tirelessly seven days a week without any help. You know, they're running on the smell of an oily rag and they, they get their unsung heroes

Speaker 1: Veteran of the day in this series for the veterans charity wounded heroes is putting his time and energy post his military career into mentoring young people. Now, you know, I know that not enough is being done in this space, that's my view. And what better way to utilize the skills and the experience of our veterans and helping other young Australians. Troy MEDHOST joined the Australian army as an 18 year old and was deployed off shore at the very young age of 19 to East Timor. Troy, thanks for your service. But I guess given your dad was in Vietnam, he didn't have much choice.

Speaker 3: Well, funny enough, my mum, mom and dad didn't really, I wouldn't say, um, countable made to that, but there was always a lot of, um, T3 in the family and whether that was just in my awareness, I just felt drawn to it from probably from really young age. So I think I'll one, all right, where I started to have like visions and dreams of joining the defense force. So, um, I was pretty keen, always running around the backyard, playing army and whatever. So I just had to send some, knowing that that was going to be where when my, my, my boss took me,

Speaker 1: You can sort of understand why mum wouldn't be keen. I mean, she would have had to go through a fair bit with your dad when he was offshore in Vietnam,

Speaker 3: And they're still still going through this stuff, the Vietnam era, um, you know, they, they suffered pretty heavily coming home and being, you know, that's the word I was looking for vilified. And it took a lot of Vietnam veterans to reach out for help. Um, so I, you know, in doing star, a lot of them suffered quite heavily what for them to take in. So I'm very thankful that the Vietnam veterans did the work that they did and the wife, um, rehabilitation for veterans.

Speaker 1: So he was in, uh, the engineer Corps, uh, caught the third field trip like yourself ended up in and he was, you told me one of the, the tunnel rats. Uh, I went up to Vietnam on a holiday and I went into some of those Vietcong tunnels, uh, in South Vietnam. I couldn't get out of there quick enough. I mean, that's pretty bribe work, working underground, doing that sort of stuff.

Speaker 3: I actually went back to Vietnam with my old man. And, um, that was very special. Show me around the tunnel was him. Yeah. Lock yourself. As soon as I jumped in, I was like, Oh my God. And he's gone. I mean, we didn't have the threat of actual people on the other end or, or baby trapped in there. We knew that the sounds are clear, but they're very Gary and my suspect for these guys to jump in there and do that work. And, um, I think I threw my dad in there about 2007. We went there and I was, wasn't a different troop at the time. I was like two trips and the first company engine regimen. Um, and I was always looking to try and get into the third field trip, like where my dad was just started. So I happened to be that when I deployed to Afghanistan, I finally was in the third field trip. Um, just like my old man. So that was kind of special for me.

Speaker 1: How emotional was that visit for him back to Vietnam? Was it tough?

Speaker 3: Yeah, I like he, it pretty well, but it was a fist bump for him to go back. Um, and there was a lot of stories and places we went through that I could see were very, very, very touching for him and, um, yeah, to see how, how much it's changed and, you know, the different perspective on things. The South Vietnamese obviously had a very communist feel about it now, and that was not all anti-American Anton capitalists. So he was quite, quite saddened to see that from, you know, what they all fighting for, um, the guy that way, but, you know, I was a very, very good bonding experience.

Speaker 1: Gonna talk about your service in a moment. I just want to start at the beginning, Troy, with the work you're doing. I mentioned it at the beginning of this chat in mentoring. Um, how important is that to you?

Speaker 3: Oh, passion. Um, so post posts as much veterans would bond back. You kind of lose your identity as who you are for being someone like myself, who was in a position of leadership and inquiry where, you know, people's lives are like the writing from that. And just being have sense of identity, who am I, what's my purpose in life. And you can get really, um, lost and disjointed. And, um, sorry. I, I was very fortunate enough to find myself into the DVI rehabilitation, um, volunteer, working with youth. And that's where I of was reconnected with the passionate and purpose in lock and have all the service and experience and all the lessons that we learned throughout our military logs to be able to use those skills and lessons to help the young generation, because the lessons that I lock, lock lessons and that courage and resilience and respect around values and to hand them out to the young kids what's right. Yeah. Stupid, powerful, and rewarding. You know, I, myself and also for the other veterans that we employ as well, giving them a sense of passion. Again,

Speaker 1: We don't utilize the background experience and mental toughness of you guys enough. I don't think, I mean, and I don't understand why that is.

Speaker 3: I think people are a little bit scared of the defense, the with plotting a warrior is, but you know, you're going to look and see the self-discipline that and resilience that we need in loss, because we're all gonna fight challenges, whether you're in the service or not, it's just what life throws at us. So having that mental toughness and clarity and peace in your heart to know that how, how, how to get through these and how to work through this stuff, especially with teamwork. And I often say to kids all the time now, especially the parents trying to do things by themselves in a line, and that's not what we're about. We're a family. And we look after each other and, you know, um, if someone's going through a hard time, you go and help them out in the best way he can, he don't leave anyone behind. So that's what we're passing on to these, these younger kids as well. And the families that, you know, it's like Haida asked for help and then like, kind of look off for each other.

Speaker 3: I mean, it's the kind of the worst it can get, like, um, for what ever reason, you know, I don't know if there's any more trouble than that. Um, so yeah, I mean, to get those kids into the feed, I just to show them the options that they're choosing can be better ones as in ones that bring them happiness and fulfillment and gloss instead of pain and suffering and misery and all these other negative. So to speak, um, choices that they take to reconnect with the family. And also the world of like getting out into nature is a huge part of our program is to reconnect with the natural environment away from technology. Yeah. Technology definitely helps us, but teenagers, especially like Instagram, all these things of these teenagers, these perfect bodies and whatever that's unattainable, it's all filters and laws that get caught up in stories.

Speaker 3: And we removed that stuff when we got high, this is what actually not as being, being true to yourself, being right, just in your heart and then reconnecting with nature and in the world and where it really is, this is reality exercise or physical training, I should say. Um, moving out body is a big part of the program. Um, every day I can pause the various forms, whether it's, um, you know, interval training or cardiovascular sort of training to flexibility, just getting the kids to move their bodies. Often if we go down the technology path, I mean, um, and television, how do you do that? You see beyond? And so I always kids constantly sitting, so to get them at thought of moving again is the massive pot. Um, so that's one aspect to it. So the physical moving, but then we're also working in as well. We do a lot of meditation and mindfulness activities as well throughout our program.

Speaker 1: No, you've got one of these youngsters and you've started to turn them around. Is there a point where you can just say right up, we've got this guy?

Speaker 3: Um, well, that's an interesting question. I would say probably about day three of the program. It's a nine day program where we die when we structure the program, you know, we use the lessons learned from army basic training, how, how that's structured. So around the, the second vice where the kids really start to engage with us and, and that's, for many reasons, one could be from the change of thought, we have a pretty holistic thought and I'm not sure possibly the sexual processed food. So the kids would go through a phase of that detox and, you know, the energy systems coming back online and the meant to be happening. And, um, physically you can see the times about three days and, um, motivated by loss, but then also them engaging with us as well, sharing some of their stories of, you know, challenges in loss. And, um, once I start sharing and opening up where they're listening without judgment, um, that really feel a sight and a sense of belonging. And then they want to be part of that same and an also held that same move forward. So I'd say about day nine, you know, day one, I saved the kid hide it. I don't want to be that. This is like, hell whatever, little it's crap, but, but they non the kids that want to leave. Yeah. It's kind of hot warming to see that actually

Speaker 1: It's like a detox. I mean, I did one of those reality shows where we got stuck in a jungle for 43 days. And I can tell you the first week was basically just detoxing from all of the things, you know, I mean, interestingly, you're dealing with youth here that would be of the age when you joined the army, you joined at age 18 and you can probably see that if your life had gone in a slightly different way, you could have ended up being like them rather than someone who had his own a military career and got into the army at 18, right.

Speaker 3: For the boys, especially that we get and go. Um, so I went a disconnected from the world that doesn't really have a, a vision or focus or, or know a goal that they want to achieve. And when they don't have that, they disconnect from school, they disconnect from anything that's going to uplifting them because I lost. So a big part of what we're doing is, um, helping them identify what, what they love doing and then setting some goals towards something that involves that we don't, we don't advocate military service at all, but you know, one of the big things is, you know, we want kids to be of service to the community in some way, but in a service they love doing, like if it's arts and crafts, like we say, yeah, you can be that direction. Um, that a lot of the kids do come out of that and go, yeah, actually one of the, in the military service as well. Perfect. Um, the family and the brotherhood and the sisterhood that, that defense is something that some of the kids are lacking at home as well, but the new family for them, if they want to go down that path,

Speaker 1: You went to East Timor as a 19 year old. What sort of an eyeopening experience was that? Was that your first time out of Australia?

Speaker 3: It was, yes. Um, all my, when my dad was in the army, I did go to Papa new Guinea as a, as a three year old or something like that. But I, I don't quite remember, but as a, as a young adult, that was my best time. I was, um, Jerry, to be honest, I was actually, yeah, quite, quite nervous and scared, even though I knew at the time that I was young, there was quite peaceful and calm. Uh, it was just the unknown of this country and what are these people going to be locked? You know, I'm missing all the creature comforts from home that I'm used to. Um, and I being young and I was new to the youth of the regiment, quite lucky to get that position. And a lot of those, a lot of things, soldiers that missed out and, you know, I was like, did I deserve this position?

Speaker 3: There's a lot of these things going on in my mind. So it was definitely challenging, but then also very rewarding to see reconstruction efforts, to see that our efforts were being used to help the people. And that was, yeah. And that's devastating, we're being upset as to the community. Um, and I just loved it. So that was one, one aspect that's scary, but rewarding, correct. Yep. You know, particularly the infrastructure and, um, you know, horizontal construction or roads and bridges and things like that. And then not in support of vertical construction of buildings and houses and given these people and I applied to this to be the families again. So that was really cool to see.

Speaker 1: It takes some time for the locals to trust the Australian military that were there. Or did they see you guys as someone who's there to help

Speaker 3: The help straight away if I was trying to be there for quite some time and we had a really good reputation and I feel like we always will. Um, that's one thing that really good at, Hey, Steve is as out defensible, they're really good at being respectful to the people that we're helping, um, or people, um, you know, really messing ourselves in their culture. And that shows that respect and that respect to build the trust. So that was something that liquid as Australian soldiers,

Speaker 1: Your second overseas deployment was to Afghanistan. Um, couldn't be more different country than a East Timorese team or an Afghanistan, completely different countries, operation slipper. Uh, this was not reconstruction. That was, that was still in the middle of the, the battle for the minds of the Afghan people. How was operations slipper? What was the, the ambition of that, that operation? What was it trying to achieve?

Speaker 3: Well, mentoring Tufts too, was to mentor and train the Afghan national army, essentially look off themselves. We had a think of them at 1,500, um, soldiers, one of the lots of deployments to Afghanistan from the Australian contingent in gun problem. Um, so we did a lot of work, three deployment, particularly as the engineers on the search, the harvest aspects, and, um, you know, and our role as, as a stride engineer with the VOD, the mobility support to the friendly forces being whoever we were attached to. Um, so being able to move from point a to point B safely without getting one off, essentially looking for ideas and things like that. So that was our main role was as an engineer, let's get the secondary role was to train the Afghan national army, which was mentoring, obviously it's the mentor, right. But as Australian engineers will that keep people. Um, so yeah, it was, it was plenty sketchy, high,

Speaker 1: Very tough job. It's a very tough job. Uh, I'll tell you a quick little story. I was lucky enough to be in, in Normandy for the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which really turned around the second world war. Anyone listening to us with an interesting military history, know what I'm talking about. And I got talking to a little English guy down the back of the bus and I said, what did you do? What did you have to do when you landed in normally, what was your job post day? And he said, I had to walk down the road with my bayonet, poking it into the ground because the Germans kept hiding the landmines in wooden boxes so that the metal detectors couldn't pick them up. And my bayonet was supposed to strike the wooden box. And then we'd just disarm the mine. And I said, how are you? How come you're still here, mate? I mean, that must be the most frightening job anyone in the world's ever had to do.

Speaker 3: And scary. I think, you know, we did a lot in training. We did a lot of training in identifying how an IUD like to confine it to an IED. And when we have the understanding of how it works, then you can understand how they're going to use it against us. So you kind of putting yourself in the mind with the Taliban. Um, that was, that was a big pot to our successes that we could put ourselves in their shoes. How are they going to talk it off the best? And then you can identify the vulnerable points in the, in the root and avoid them at first. But then if we have to cross them, then we'll, you know, how do we look for these things? Um, I think the sketchiest part was probably being, there's no point looking for bombs behind everybody. So we were walking to, um, and I was thinking monitor.

Speaker 3: I had two guys attached to my, the, my team myself and two others for title, but I would say, and I was making sure they're doing the right job. And we could intercept the Taliban communications. And often we're going from a safe spot into enemy territory. And the Taliban have the initiative pretty much all upon, cause we're going into this space. Um, so w searching for ideas on the front, listening to the radio, and we could hear the Taliban saying, yep, this Ryan's about to walk into an ambush. And, you know, I think Amanda, my God, my team members couldn't quite hear what was happening on the radio like that, but I knew what was happening to trying to keep them cool and calm. And the fact that we're about to walk into an ambush and there's no way we could get around it, like shit's about to get real.

Speaker 3: Um, so the main threat is looking for the bumps in the road. And the second thing I'm looking for is to keep my guys safe. Like I'm looking for the Taliban, where are they going to shoot us from? Where are they gonna attack us from constantly a harlot hotspots? Um, yeah, so that was really sketchy, but at the same time, we kinda good at it. Like we're good at identifying these things and getting, we'll get into contact with the Taliban numerous times. So many times that they'll just stop. And we're real lucky that that was a pretty poor shot that they'd just miss us for some reason. Um, and then once we, you know, I went through in the contact with them, my body falling forward to get them, um, to clear the way. So that was probably the, the scariest thing to hear that they're about to attack us. And now we're about to walk into that quiet. Um, luckily that we could get her killed

Speaker 3: How many there's so many clinicals. One of my guys was disarming, uh, well, removing a rock, which we thought there might've been an ID. Wasn't quite sure. And, um, it's very lucky at this time he lifted the rock up and I, um, grenade flipped and he was just so lucky that the grenade just didn't function. I'm like, wow, how lucky is that? Just the random block. We had so many random luck stories like that. I mean, that was shut up times. I think at one point I was looking for an ID and the ground stuck against this wall and I was just getting I by Taliban machine gun foreign, somehow I might have that made it out of there. And when I got back, one of the guys is like laughing at me. He's like, my nickname is [inaudible]. He's like you remember when a person dies and they have an outline of their body. That was you. But with bullets, I was like, yeah, man, Gary, Gary, things like that. Um, I remember that particular one I was talking about. I've got back to the patrol, but then just a lot, just a lot on the ground. So I don't even know how long was this like two hours, just a full kit. What the heck? This happened to me. Um, and then to continue to guys step out on patrol to know that something like that's probably gonna happen again, um, was tough.

Speaker 1: That was my next question. How do you mentally prepare to go and do it again? Given what you've just seen them. And that's when you go the first time, clearly you don't really know what it's going to be like, your training kicks in, but once you've experienced it over and over and over, how hard is it mentally to actually take that step to go back out? Or is that just part of service that you knew you had to do it?

Speaker 3: Yeah. Uh, one, one you knew you had to do it. Like everyone it's that teamwork, everyone needs each other. Like the mission is going to go ahead with it without me. So I'm going to be there to stand there with them, help them get through it. We were all scared and anyone who said they weren't was lying. Um, and pretty much every time we had to step out on patrol, I was so nervous that I'll literally myself. Like I'd have to go to the toilet every time I stepped out and I'd just relinquish everything in my body. And I didn't realize that Tom, but I, that was just from my nerves. I was so scared, like relinquish it and then just have this big, deep breath and just take us step out of the Bay. And as soon as you step forward, just the repetition of training just kicks in really reliant upon the training, the fight with your team. Um, yeah, so that was pretty much it it's just like, you gotta look out the nights, number one,

Speaker 1: And you're not there in isolation. I mean, you, you would have known that the Australian, uh, soldiers had lost members of the, the armed forces to these and these explosive devices hidden alongside the road. I mean, we lost people.

Speaker 3: Yep. Yep. Um, you know, one particular incident, I was swept out of a one patrol by the person who took over my position as such think Amanda is only there in this, um, patrol by so maybe two weeks before he was blown up. Um, yeah, share the room with him, sent him last thing I remember was having a log with him and the next thing is dead. You know, it's um, just how, how far loss can be taken away was yes. Gary anger, anger and hatred. One for the, like, I lost a lot of fights in the hierarchy because, you know, I felt like a victim at the time. I'm like I told these people not to send him into this position, but then I did anyway. And like, I get what I did now. Um, but I wasn't angry yet. Like I said, I wasn't angry at the Taliban cause that was the Taliban to kill in nine us.

Speaker 3: Um, so I wasn't angry at them. I was more angry at the decision they should have been made. Right. That was my spot, not him. So I was angry at the people that spoke to me out. How did I deal with that? I bought a lot of my anger. It didn't really work so well for me because coming to home, that's where I came out. Um, I didn't get locked in general and it was probably one point in time where the anger, I can't deal with this anymore. I'm checking out the thing and, um, drugs and alcohol, all that sort of stuff.

Speaker 3: It just got too much. And one dialysis, this is it. This is it for me. I'm done with all this pain and suffering and planned out my, my desk and just so happened that my mate, he was a real cost, might just call me. I haven't had how he needed to call me, but he called me. He's like how miserable man. And yeah, I was just like, I told him, he's like, man, this guy jumped in the river and I was lucky to live by a river. And I just jumped in the river. And I was like, at that point I was like, man, I can't, I need to be here for people. This there's something that I've got to give to this world. And, um, yeah, that's where I made the step to jump in the recovery path and um, send me lessons about myself. And so, yeah, I guess, yeah, I'm really thankful for all the experiences that happened to me in Afghanistan, every single one of them, um, because it's helped me be where I am today to be able to get through that and to learn those lessons. And now I can pass on the feelings to the kids and the credit community of Australia. That's like, I feel actually really blessed.

Speaker 1: You sound like you're doing an incredible job, a phone call and a jump in the river. It would have been a lot more than just that. But I mean, thank God that friend of yours called you at the time and you know, your mental toughness is, must have kicked back in because I mean, you sound so on top of things now. I mean, you know, I watched a federal budget the other night is there is some more money in there for, uh, the veteran community. I think they've put in, you know, another $200 million or something, but you had, we've had 400 veteran suicides choice since 2001 it's just far too many. Isn't it?

Speaker 3: It's really sad. Yeah. I'm really sad. Is there a bit of a stigma I'm hoping that it's changed a little bit now for guys leaving the defense force that, um, you know, to have mental illness or, you know, appeal, uh, yeah, I guess the mental illness is probably the right word is like, you're weak, you got a physical injury, you're weak. You're not tough enough, whatever. So that was a big aspect of why people don't want to ask for help because I don't want to be seen as weak or seen as needing, needing help, uh, when that was made to, um, so I'm hoping there's, you know, that that sort of mentality has shifted a bit, um, because that, that really sets people backwards a bit. So, yeah. Um, look, it is sad and I see some of my mates going down the path, I went down and they committed to it and I take that loss and that's something that could have just chose a different quality, different option and choice to reach out for help.

Speaker 3: And it's super challenging, such a. Yeah. And that's where I think where I was getting with the businesses, that purpose is that the guys lose a sense of purpose, a sense of who they are, you know, they're not in the defense force anymore, and then they're struggling and then they have this self talk about they're not good enough and I shouldn't be weak. I shouldn't be suffering. And the worst thing I can do is to ask for help, cause then people would judge me or sort of stuff, but like I get it, I get why the dog guys would go down at pop. Cause I was there. I've been there, I've lived it. Um, but if any of those guys are listening or if you're not and to ask for help and it's more than like walk changing. So yeah, if you're in that spice and listening, just going out to help,

Speaker 1: Honestly, Troy, your mentoring and helping young people has helped you

Speaker 3: Big time, big time. Um, and you know, yeah. Yep. And now, now as the business is growing and, um, we're helping more and more kids keep flying for the kids who have changed. You know, we've sort of reached out a hand to them, jumped in the hole with them. We haven't pushed them out. We've just shined them the way. And I've taken steps themselves for these kids to get that is that, that self-confidence, that they can achieve things in life. Like they're not going to be spoonfed, but you know that they can feed themselves and they can achieve. And that's really empowering for the kid. And then the impact on the world, again, and things, everything that I've learned from the defense was being of service. Again, I have this passion, it just the ripple effect, keep going the families, these kids get back into the families and the families that are having more, more love and happiness in their life. So it's just a really massive thing that we're doing to keep healing

Speaker 1: And you to be congratulated both for your service for your country and what you're doing. Now, anyone listening to us who might have a troubled young student needs some help. What's the website that they can go to

Speaker 3: Www.veteranmentors.com, the veteran army. That's really what we're talking about. And mentors as in mentoring,

Speaker 1: It's been a great pleasure, Troy, MEDHOST talking to you, uh, you are our, uh, veteran of the day, thanks to wounded heroes.org today. You could like Louie good work mate. Thanks for talking to us.

Speaker 3: Really appreciate it. And thanks for doing what you're doing and stay really, really honored and grateful. Thank you.

Speaker 1: I'm Steve price. I'm proud to be an Australian ambassador for wounded heroes, the first responders to our homeless and at risk veterans providing emergency solutions right across Australia every day, year round wounded heroes provides these emergency solutions with no government funding as a not-for-profit volunteer run organization, they use 100% of all public donations for this emergency accommodation to veterans and their families for food, electricity, and fuel for many veterans and their families. This is lifesaving assistance. They're only hope you can help wounded heroes with this great cause by donating $8 on the eighth day of every month, an eight for a mate together, let's stop veteran homelessness and help raise funds for wounded heroes. Visit wounded heroes.org.edu for details on eight for a mate.

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