Heidingsfeld, Germany — A U.S. Army veteran, Elliot Montalvan, was working at a small casino last year in south-central Germany, near Würzburg, approximately halfway between Nuremberg and Frankfurt. Montalvan saw a robber toting a Batman mask enter the building, and heard him threaten someone in German, demanding money.
His instincts kicked in and Montalvan, 35, attacked the robber, disarming him and subduing him. The robber, who has not been identified, has been charged and sentenced to 39 months in prison.
Montalvan was an infantryman from 2004 to 2010, in the 2nd Infantry Division stationed at the U.S. Army Garrison in Schweinfurt, Germany. The garrison has since been returned to the German government. Montalvan had also deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and according to the report by Stars and Stripes, was wounded in combat and received six pins in his back after he was hit by a roadside bomb.
He first gains control of the man’s weapon and then brings him to the ground. Once there, he did not fixate on the weapon as many would — instead, he chose to pound the man’s face, breaking his cheekbone. If you disable the operator of a weapon, the weapon isn’t going to do much good. Eventually he put the would-be robber in a chokehold and rendered him unconscious. Montalvan then put the man on his stomach to ensure that he did not choke in his own blood.
Montalvan wasn’t actually supposed to work that day — he was covering for his wife, who had to stay home to tend to their children who had fallen ill. It was the first time he had covered for her.
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This is another story (one of many) of a U.S. military veteran or active duty service member stepping up in foreign countries when lives are on the line. In the famous event of August 2015, a man boarded the Thalys train to Paris with an AKM assault rifle (a common, modern version of the AK-47). He had 270 rounds of ammunition on his person, as well as a handgun and a bottle of gasoline. After several attempts of the passengers to subdue the man, three Americans tackled and disarmed him — two of which were American military service members. Alek Skarlatos was from the Oregon Army National Guard, and Spencer Stone was from the U.S. Air Force. No one was killed on the train, and they have since become national heroes.
Sometimes it just seems like poor luck — you try to rob a place, and you wind up getting a military guy who is trained and proficient enough to not only stop the robbery, but beat your face in at the same time. For example, in Midlothian, Texas in 2015, a robber armed with a knife tried to hold up a convenient store. Little did he know, the man he shoved out of the way to rob the clerk was active duty Marine Daniel Gaskey, who … well, you’ll see. He took care of it.
Image and videos courtesy of YouTube.