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Face of Defense: Sergeant Mentors New Troops

By Army Pfc. Terence Ewings
Special to American Forces Press Service

TALLIL, Iraq, July 3, 2008 – One of the most challenging things soldiers in leadership positions can face during a deployment is maintaining their soldiers’ readiness for combat.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Soldiers in Army Staff Sgt. Steven Roode’s squad assemble an M2 .50-caliber weapon during a tactical training class in Tallil, Iraq, June 24, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Terence Ewings, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Army Staff Sergeant Steven Roode, a Skowhegan, Maine, native and squad leader assigned to Troop A, 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, is using his previous deployment experience to prepare his troops for combat.

“As a squad leader, I have the freedom to teach and train these soldiers, and I get to give them my experiences from when I deployed,” said Roode, a former drill sergeant stationed at Fort Jackson, S.C.

The majority of his squad hasn’t deployed before and is fairly new to this infantry unit. Army Pfc. John Burgess, a squad team leader, is one of Roode’s squad members.

“I help teach my fellow soldiers what I know, and I’m also learning at the same time,” Burgess said. “My squad needed a team leader, so I stepped up to do the job.”

After teaching a tactical combat course, Roode and his squad discuss the course during an after-action review. If a demonstration is involved, he walks the troops through it, then pulls one of the soldiers from the group to teach it to the squad the exact same way.

“It’s motivating to see these privates go from training to doing their job out in the field,” Roode said. “These soldiers are learning just that fast, and I enjoy seeing them grow.”

(Army Pfc. Terence Ewings serves in the 1st Cavalry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)

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Related Sites:
Multinational Corps Iraq

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