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A soldier guides a 94th Engineer Battalion vehicle onto a rail car at Rose Barracks, Vilseck, Germany, on Thursday. The battalion was loading about 500 pieces of equipment for deployment to the Persian Gulf.
A soldier guides a 94th Engineer Battalion vehicle onto a rail car at Rose Barracks, Vilseck, Germany, on Thursday. The battalion was loading about 500 pieces of equipment for deployment to the Persian Gulf. (Rick Emert / S&S)

VILSECK, Germany — The 94th Engineer Battalion began loading hundreds of pieces of construction equipment onto rail cars Thursday, putting in motion its deployment to the Persian Gulf.

More than 500 pieces of equipment were loaded onto 250 train cars Thursday and Friday, headed for a port in Belgium where the equipment will be loaded on a ship and carried to the Gulf region, said battalion commander Lt. Col. Paul Grosskruger.

About 800 soldiers will follow between the end of January and mid-February, said Capt. Tom Bryant, a V Corps spokesman.

The soldiers come primarily from the engineer battalion, but also include 3rd Corps Support Command soldiers attached for support and maintenance of vehicles, Bryant said.

Grosskruger said he couldn’t comment on where the soldiers would be based. For security reasons, he could only say they are deploying to the Persian Gulf region.

Until they deploy, the soldiers will be training for their missions.

“The soldiers are very confident,” Grosskruger said. “We will continue to train; you can never be overly trained.”

Grosskruger also said he couldn’t discuss details of the battalion’s specific missions while they are deployed. However, he said the battalion’s normal mission is construction oriented, including laying roads and carpentry, as well as combat support.

The soldiers themselves don’t know exactly what they’ll be doing in the Gulf region, other than maintaining a busy training schedule.

Sgt. Jermaine Williams, from Headquarters Support Company, said he had no idea what he would be doing during the deployment, adding that mission details are kept quiet for operational security.

This will be Williams’ first deployment, and he said he is delaying telling his family in the States.

“I just don’t want them to worry,” he said.

The length of the deployment is still up in the air, Grosskruger said.

“The family members [of the deploying soldiers] are concerned about the length of the deployment,” he said. “We just don’t know yet.”

“One of the main concerns for the families is that we don’t know how long [the soldiers] will be there,” said David Dorminey, a Family Readiness Group member for the 94th’s Headquarters Support Company. His wife, Spc. Regina Dorminey, is a medic who will deploy with the battalion. “We don’t know if it will escalate to a high-intensity conflict. There are just a lot of ‘what ifs’ right now,” he sadi.

He said family members also were concerned about how they learned of the deployment — by reading it in Saturday’s Stars and Stripes. He added that the battalion commander had warned families that a deployment to the region could happen.

“We knew that there was a possibility they would deploy, but we didn’t know when or even if the deployment was definite,” Dorminey said. “But we learned those details from Stars and Stripes.”

Now, the Family Readiness Groups, or FRGs, are in overdrive trying to establish video teleconference centers so family members can talk to their spouses during the deployment, Dorminey said.

The groups’ leaders also are giving information briefings to family members before the deployment, and will provide updates throughout the deployment, Dorminey said.

He said the groups make initial contact with all spouses in the unit to see if the families have any problems or concerns. After that, whether or not to become involved with the group and seek updates is the responsibility of the family member.

“We try to help them focus on the positives, on the good that their husbands or wives will be doing,” Dorminey said. “While the soldiers are deployed, we’re trying to make sure things are going good at home.”

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