Local Soldier Trains in Africa for Jungle Warfare
A soldier from Webb city is far from home in Africa.
Specialist William Matteson is getting combat training at French jungle warfare school near Yemen, Gabon.
Loaded with a weapon and pack, battling high ninety degrees heat and overwhelming humidity, Specialist Matteson and his team train in jungle warfare.
Matteson said,”It’s a lot harder to see. You have to be real quiet. You have to be aware of your surroundings, know who you have with you at all times, what you have with you.”
Under French instructors, they see how foreign countries operate and learn how to fight and survive in the jungle.
Matteson said, “Learn how to make fire, just basic survival skills so that they have that little bit of tools if they’re stranded or if they’re, find themselves alone, so they have those basic stills so they can stay coherent and alive.”
They build improvised litters for the injured. And do physical training on the beach. Part of the training is an obstacle course that puts even internal strength to the test.
Matteson said, “You had to walk across the river laughs) and there was a little blue line you had to follow or you fell off. I fell off multiple times. It was pretty difficult getting it.”
Family influenced Matteson to enlist. His grandfather served in the army and a cousin in Afghanistan and Iraq. Matteson said,
“He was a big factor in me moving forward with this.”
Being in the bravo company also meant training operations at Fort Irwin and at Fort Bliss, which Matteson called the toughest of all.
He said, “They have the mountains over there and it’s all rock it’s pretty difficult to navigate through and find your way.” ?
It’s Matteson’s first time overseas and part of the challenge is missing home and his two year old son.
He said he looks forward to returning home and, “Seeing my son. Going to the park. Getting to spend quality time with them and the rest of my family.”
Matteson communicating via Skype delivered this message, “I’d like to say hello to my father, my sister, my brothers. I miss you guys a lot, especially my son. I can’t wait to come home and see you, Maddox, I love you.”
And while he’s looking forward to coming home, he knows this training makes a difference.
Matteson said, “It’s helping us broaden our horizon, being able to fight anywhere and go and do anything”
The bravo company is spending two weeks training with the Central Accord 20-16.
Central Accord 2016 involves fourteen nations taking part in headquarter staff training, land force maneuvers, air operations, and medical training to prepare for peacekeeping operations.