John William Engeman – Chief Warrant Officer, United States Army

NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
May 18, 2006

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died in Baghdad, Iraq, on May 14, 2006, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their HMMWV during combat operations.  Both soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 312th Regiment, 30th Enhanced Separate Brigade, Clinton, North Carolina.

Killed were:

  • Chief Warrant Officer 4, John W. Engeman, 45, of East North Port, New York
  • Master Sergeant Robert H. West, 37, of Elyria, Ohio

Courtesy of Newsday
May 17, 2006

John Engeman had a goal for his wife. On Saturday, Donna Engeman achieved it when she received a bachelor's degree in political science and public administration.

John Engeman, a career military man who grew up in East Northport and was stationed in southern Iraq, watched with pride as his wife received her diploma, thanks to an Internet feed set up by Concord University in West Virginia.

“He was so excited for me,” Engeman said.

“For him to be able to see me graduate was really special. He told me afterward that I looked great,” she said, her voice cracking. “Then he said, ‘I'll call you tomorrow for Mother's Day.'”

That call never came.

John Engeman, 45, an Army Chief Warrant Officer, was killed Sunday when his Humvee hit a roadside bomb, exploded and flipped over, his family said yesterday.


Engeman, who had served in Desert Storm and Kosovo, was sent to Iraq in February as part of an embedded special transition team to train and advise Iraqi security forces for one year.

By 4 p.m. Sunday, Engeman said she knew something was amiss: “He usually called by 1 o'clock my time, but I figured because it was Mother's Day there was a backup.”

Later that night, when she heard news reports that two soldiers had been killed in southern Iraq, she pushed the thought out of her head that it could be John and went to bed. At 6:15 a.m. Monday, she got the news when soldiers arrived at her home.

“John was dedicated to his career; he had done it for 28 years. It was what he did,” Donna Engeman said. Although she said her husband had contemplated retiring before being deployed to Iraq, he always was ready to serve.

“His unit needed him. He would never shirk from anything. He would never leave his unit in a lurch,” she said proudly.

John Engeman, who grew up in a close-knit family with six brothers and sisters, graduated from Holy Family High School, formerly of South Huntington. He joined the Army in 1978 and served overseas in such places as Korea and Wartburg, Germany, where he met his future wife. The couple had been married 23 years.

Two years ago, they moved to West Virginia, where John Engeman served as an active duty liaison between the National Guard and Army reserves. They have two children, Nicole, 20, a college student, and Patrick, 23, a Second Lieutenant stationed upstate at Fort Drum. He is expected to be deployed to Iraq in August.

Engeman's sister Patti O'Neill lives in Huntington, New York.

“I hope he is remembered as a spectacular brother and son, incredible husband and a tremendous father with immense character and a great, great soldier who believed in the United States military and its mission,” O'Neill said.

A career Army officer whose son followed in his footsteps was among three North Carolina-based service members killed this week as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 John W. Engeman, 45, of East North Port, New York, and Master Sergeant Robert H. West, 37, of Elyria, Ohio, died in Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday when a bomb exploded near their vehicle.

Both were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 312th Training Support Battalion, 4th Brigade, 78th Division based at Fort Bragg.

Marine Corporal William B. Fulks, 23, of Culloden, West Virginia, died Thursday at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio from wounds he received May 1 during combat in Anbar Province, Iraq.

He was assigned to the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune.

Engeman leaves behind his wife, Donna Engeman of Princeton, W.Va., and two grown children, said his brother-in-law, Bob Larson of Long Valley, New Jersey.

He had served in the Army for nearly 30 years, Larson said, and his son, Patrick, is also in uniform. The younger Engeman is expected to be deployed to Iraq this summer, Larson said.

“I don't think [his mother] will be looking forward to him going,” Larson said.

Larson last saw Engeman in January at Topsail Island, where the family had a tradition of meeting every few years. Engeman had a brother and five sisters, and his parents live near Wilmington.

“He was a good storyteller, just a relaxed kind of guy,” Larson said.

The families of Fulks and West could not be reached Friday.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 John W. Engeman, 45, and Master Sergeant Robert H. West, 37, of Elyria, Ohio, were killed in Baghdad when a bomb detonated near their Humvee. Both were assigned to 1st Battalion, 312th Regiment, 4th Brigade, 78th Division at Fort Bragg.

The Pentagon said Engeman's home town was East North Port, New York. He moved two years ago to West Virginia, where he served as an active duty liaison between the National Guard and Army reserves, said his wife, Donna.

Engeman and West were trainers who went to Iraq in February. Engeman was married and a father of two. West was married and a father of one.

Engeman was killed one day after watching his wife graduate from Concord University in West Virginia via an Internet feed, Donna Engeman said.

“For him to be able to see me graduate was really special. He told me afterward that I looked great,” she told the Long Island, N.Y., newspaper Newsday. “Then he said, ‘I'll call you tomorrow for Mother's Day.”'

Engeman was killed before he could make the call.

West returned to Iraq for a second tour of duty against his family's wishes to train Iraqi police officers, his aunt, Bonnie Shreve said. West felt he had the experience to train Iraqis better than younger soldiers, she told The Chronicle-Telegram of Elyria.

“He wasn't afraid,” aunt Nora Hudson said. “He said, ‘I'm a trained professional, it'll be all right.'”

Three Fort Bragg soldiers from the 78th Division and their Iraqi interpreter were riding back from a mission in Baghdad on Mother’s Day.

They reminded each other to keep an eye out for the enemy and roadside bombs. They talked about what they wanted to do when they finished their tours.

In the next instant a bomb exploded by their Humvee. The vehicle caught on fire, crashed into a ditch and overturned.

“Before I knew it, I went from looking up at the sky to being upside down,” said Sergeant First Class Garry Galloway, one of the two survivors.

Galloway, who is from Winnabow, North Carolina, spoke by telephone from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, where he is recovering from his wounds. The interpreter escaped with minor injuries.

The two other soldiers, Chief Warrant Officer John W. Engeman and Master Sergeant Robert H. West, were killed. West was 37. Engeman was 45.

A soldier salutes at a memorial to Chief Warrant Officer John Engeman, left, and Master Sergeant Robert West during a service Wednesday on Fort Bragg.

About 200 people gathered at the Main Post Chapel at Fort Bragg on Wednesday to remember them. Most were soldiers wearing the lightning patch of the 78th Division.

Engeman and West were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 312th Regiment, 4th Brigade, 78th Division, which is based at Fort Bragg.

Members of the unit usually stay stateside and train Army reservists who are getting ready to go overseas, said Col. David Boslego, the 4th Brigade commander.

But to complete its job in Iraq, the Army needs to teach the Iraqi police forces how stand on their own, Boslego said. It called on the 78th, with its ranks of experienced soldiers skilled at training.

West and Engeman volunteered, said their wives, Jeannie West of Denver and Donna Engeman of Bluefield, West Virginia.

It was “devotion to the Army, to their country,” Jeannie West said. “It’s in their blood.”

“It’s just what they did,” Donna Engeman said. “It wasn’t like John and Bob woke up every morning and were like, ‘Oh, we’re so patriotic today, let’s go!’ They were just very quiet and very privately dedicated to what they did.”

“And they loved what they did, and they were good at it,” Jeannie West said.

While stationed at Bragg, Engeman maintained his home in Bluefield, where the men had been previously stationed. They stayed in Bluefield on the weekends, getting up at 4 a.m. on Mondays to get to Fort Bragg by 9 a.m., Donna Engeman said.

The Wests kept their home in Denver so their 10-year-old daughter could have some stability, and so Jeannie could pursue her career with military contractor Halliburton, Jeannie West said.

Galloway said he met West several years ago at Fort Knox in Kentucky. West was a “great NCO, great leader, good decision-maker, good friend. I would follow him anywhere,”he said.

“I ain’t never met his wife and his daughter but it seemed like I know them because he talked about them so much,” Galloway said.

Engeman, Galloway said, was like a father figure.

“If you needed advice, you always went to Chief,” Galloway said. “And he would always give you that look. … Almost like, ‘You should know about it already, but I’m going to help you anyway.’”

The bomb blast, Galloway said, was brutal.

He doesn’t remember seeing or hearing the explosion. He just remembers finding himself trapped in the overturned Humvee.

After freeing himself, Galloway looked for West and Engeman. They were trapped inside, but the armored doors couldn’t be opened from the outside, he said. There was ammunition in the burning vehicle.

“We couldn’t get them out,” Galloway said. “It’s just an ugly situation.”

Galloway was severely injured, with shrapnel wounds and other injuries to his legs, stomach and wrist. He said it will be months before he can walk again.

“I’m on the side of the living, not the side of the dead. I can get better, so I can’t complain,” he said.

Donna Engeman and Jeannie West could complain, but they don’t. They simply ask that people remember the sacrifice of their husbands.

“I know this stuff, it really hurts. They know how to get us. It’s important that we don’t give up support for this,” Donna Engeman said. “Don’t make their lives be for nothing.”

L.I. son's killed in Baghdad

Army officer and Long Island native John Engeman was in Iraq Saturday, watching a live Web stream of his wife, Donna, graduating from college – a feat she had put off to support her husband's long military career.
“He said he was so proud of me,” she recalled.

The next day, Engeman, 45, a 28-year veteran, was killled by an explosion that rocked the Humvee he was driving in Baghdad, the Army announced yesterday.

“After 28 years [in the service], I thought, ‘He'll be fine,'” Donna Engeman, 45, said yesterday from her Princeton, West Virginia, home. “To me, he was invincible.”

Chief Warrant Officer Engeman had been stationed in Iraq since February and was planning to file retirement papers after his one-year tour of duty ended, Donna Engeman said.

An expert in logistics and technology, he had served in the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm and was later stationed in Kosovo. Instructing the new Iraqi security forces was his most recent mission.

“He said it was challenging, two totally different cultures trying to be working together,” said his wife, who majored in political science. “He thought they were making progress.”

Engeman was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 312th Regiment, based in Clinton, North Carolina, the Army said.

Born in Huntington Station and reared in East Northport, Long Island, New York, Engeman is survived by a 22-year-old son, a 20-year-old daughter and six siblings.

“He always liked New York. He has deep roots there,” Donna Engeman said.

The moment she dreaded in their 25 years of marriage came on Monday, when two impeccably dressed Army officers appeared at her home bearing the devastating news. “I knew when they opened the door,” she said softly. “But I couldn't believe it was John.”


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 07/08/1960
  • DATE OF DEATH: 05/14/2006



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