TALLIL, Iraq - One of the most challenging things a leader can face during their deployment is maintaining their Soldiers' readiness for combat.

Staff Sgt. Steven Roode, a Skowhejan, 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.

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 discussed 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 and they 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."