SPOKANE, Wash.—A Spokane man dedicates his time as an Army Specialist training soldiers how to identify and neutralize IEDs.
U.S. Army Specialist Matthew Manuel said he helps train Cameroonian troops on dealing with Improvised Explosive Devices in West Africa.
Spokane native Matthew Manuel is doing some pretty incredible work as a @USArmy specialist. He's a LONG way from home right now, but thanks to FaceTime I get to bring him (and his story) into your living rooms this morning. pic.twitter.com/RGakOTetWi— Rob Harris (@KREMRob) November 20, 2017
Manuel said IEDs are a growing threat in Cameroon as the military there continues to battle the extremist group known as Boko Haram.
“As an explosive ordnance disposal technician, our job is to remove explosive hazards from the battlefield,” said Manuel.
Manuel said the Cameroonian troops were very glad and excited that the U.S. Army was there as a partner to help out.
“They’re very hungry for knowledge,” said Manuel.
Manuel described the training as very long and intense, but the lives saved pays off.
“It’s great to be a part of that and to feel like I’m actually making a difference in keeping some of these guys alive when they go hit the battlefield,” said Manuel.
Manuel graduated high school from East Valley High School before he joined the Army.
Manuel said his best memories growing up in the area were the winters, which are very different from his current location.
Manuel said he hoped to return to Spokane for the holidays.
Spc. Manuel is training the Cameroonian Army on IED warfare, as they continue to battle Boko Haram. He says he's seen great improvement in their ability to identify and handle IEDs, which could literally save their lives. pic.twitter.com/xymFJ5R8sN— Rob Harris (@KREMRob) November 20, 2017