Chris Scherkenbach was born on November 3, 1964, in Maine Township, Illinois. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on December 12, 1986, and went on active duty to begin basic training on March 2, 1987. Sgt Scherkenbach completed basic training in May 1987, and the Automatic Data Telecommunications Center Operator Course in August 1987. His first assignment was with the 270th Signal Company in West Germany from September 1987 to September 1989, followed by Warrant Officer Training and Rotary Wing Aviator Training. Sgt Scherkenbach was appointed a Warrant Officer in the U.S. Army and designated an Army Aviator at Fort Rucker, Alabama, on January 15, 1991, and then completed CH-47 Chinook qualification training in May 1991. His first assignment was as a CH-47 pilot with Company B, 2nd Battalion of the 159th Aviation Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, from May 1991 to January 1994, followed by service as a CH-47 pilot with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment of the 17th Aviation Brigade at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, from January to December 1994. CW2 Scherkenbach then returned to Company B, 2nd Battalion of the 159th Aviation Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield from January 1995 to December 1997. His final assignment was as an MH-47 Chinook pilot with Company B, 3rd Battalion of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield from January 1998 until he was killed in action during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan when the MH-47 helicopter he was piloting was shot down by an enemy rocket-propelled grenade on June 28, 2005. Chris Scherkenbach was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His 2nd Air Medal Citation reads:
For meritorious achievement on 12 May 2002 while conducting an emergency resupply mission of a Norwegian Special Operations Team during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. CW3 Scherkenbach lead a flight to resupply the team, which had run out of food and water, high in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. Despite poor visibility, zero illumination, enemy threat and treacherous terrain, CW3 Scherkenbach pushed on to recover the team. Upon arrival at the recovery site, the terrain proved formidable and dangerous. Chris was forced to hover and lower the life-saving supplies to the awaiting team. His leadership, superb aviation skills, daring and courage proved critical in the final delivery to the coalition team. CW3 Scherkenbach’s achievements are a credit to himself, this command and the United States Army.