HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In February 2010, as Matt Koetting and fellow Kaneohe Marines cleared mines in Afghanistan, an IED exploded.
"We came across one that you wouldn't find. It was buried super deep under ground," he said.
The explosion tossed Koetting 15 feet and injured several other Marines hundreds of feet away.
"I should be dead," he said.
On Thursday, Koetting told his emotional survival story at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
“The right side of my face was fractured in different directions out from the orbital socket. My right eye, I was blind for about a year in that eye,” he said.
Koetting underwent 15 surgeries.
He recovered with Hawaii's Wounded Warrior detachment and was awarded the Purple Heart.
He was honest with the audience about his bouts of depression and PTSD, and warned them to be ready.
"There may be a few lucky guys out. But for the most part as unit leaders or as veterans they're going to deal with it," he said.
About 200 Marines attended the presentation that lasted 45 minutes.
“Having Matt come down here and tell these guys his story, they can see a road, a pathway to success. That’s great,” Capt. Gerard Marin said.
“Genuine and mental resilience. That’s a big part of what I took away from his talk,” Sgt. Chris Liz-Azcona said.
Koetting acknowledged he couldn’t have bounced back as well as he has without his wife and family, and a support network in Hawaii.
"I started to realize how great we had it in Hawaii, even if it was a short time in between deployments," he said.
Koetting retired from the Marine Corp in 2016.
He now operates a security firm The Invictus Experience in Las Vegas.