BAYJI, Iraq — Self-described as a young but driven non-commissioned officer, Sgt. Barach Rouleau, a scout squad leader with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, Kan., follows a long line of military veterans.
Rouleau said that he joined the military exactly four years and two months ago because he wanted to be a part of something that had become a tradition among the men in his family.
"I have a lot of family who were in the military, and it was kind of inspiring. So, I wanted to be a part of that tradition of my family too," he said.
"My uncles and grandfather [as well as] my uncles and grandfather on my mom's side [were all in the military]."
Rouleau hit the ground running after vowing to serve his country. Before the start of 2009, the Tallahasse, Fla., native had already pinned on his sergeant stripes and set down a path of being responsible for nine young Soldiers.
The hardest part about leading for Rouleau is making sure everything and everyone of his Soldiers are well taken care of, but as he looks away for a moment, he smiles and admits that the best part of his job is the gratification he gets from knowing that he has a group of men who will be there for him as he is there for them.
"I get a lot out of it," he said. "I think you get what you put into it like spending that time with [my] guys, they look up to [me] and they respect [me] as a leader. I try to help them [as much as I can] and they help me a lot. It's a two-way [street]. It's pretty gratifying.
"I think being a young leader like I am, I still participate in a lot of stuff and my Soldiers respect that. When stuff comes down the chain and things need to get done, I try not to get out there and start pointing the finger. I actually try to get down and help them and take care of that kind of stuff. My Soldiers realize that. They work really hard for me, and I work hard for them."
Currently on his second deployment to Iraq with the 'Ranger' battalion, Rouleau states that he hasn't completely found his leadership style.
"I haven't really found my little pattern or what works best for me," he said. "So, I try and keep well rounded. I'm still so young, and I'm still trying to find a straight path."