WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 28, 2008) - As the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team prepares for its upcoming deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the brigade is taking steps to get rid of its gear - but only for a short time.

Equipment the brigade will use in Iraq is being loaded onto rail cars bound for Texas. Once it arrives there, it will be moved onto ships that will transport it to Iraq.

"Today we move one step closer to deploying the 2nd Brigade to Iraq," said Capt. Peter Nesbitt, officer in charge of the railhead operation, "but this is just one day of many days of preparing the Soldiers and their equipment for the upcoming deployment."

The "Daggers" are a heavy brigade, and along with that comes some heavy gear, including M1A1 Abrams tanks, M109A6 Paladins and Bradley fighting vehicles, he said.

"These are very heavy vehicles, and the railcars are very narrow," said Nesbitt.

"Trying to keep the tank right in the center of the track is tough," said Pfc. Chase Thomas of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, "but as long as you keep it at a low speed and watch your ground guide, you should be good."

The Soldiers completed the loading operation in less than half the time allotted. That could give them a bit more time to spend with family and loved ones before deploying.