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3 from state died in copter

The troops died when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan.

Associated Press
Published July 4, 2005


JACKSONVILLE - Three Florida troops were among 16 killed when their Chinook helicopter was shot down by enemy fire in eastern Afghanistan, military officials said.

Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach, 40, of Jacksonville, had served in the Army for 18 years, according to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby, 21, of Pompano Beach, was a flight engineer who had enlisted after his high school graduation in 2002.

Navy SEAL Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh, 28, of Deerfield Beach also died in the crash, according to the Department of Defense.

The three men were on a Chinook helicopter that crashed in the eastern mountains of Afghanistan on Tuesday in the deadliest single blow to American forces fighting an escalating insurgency in the country.

Scherkenbach and Jacoby were members of the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment known as the Night Stalkers.

Suh joined the Navy in 2001 and began SEAL training five months later, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. He was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Scherkenbach enlisted as a communications specialist in 1987 and was first stationed in Germany. After completing the Warrant Officer program, he served a tour as a Chinook pilot in Korea.

He is survived by his wife, Michelle, in Jacksonville.

"Chris was a strong man and had a firm sense of justice," his family said in a statement. "He believed in his mission and stood up for what he knew was right. Chris died doing what he loved."

Jacoby had been a helicopter repairman before he was reassigned in February 2004 as a flight engineer.

He is survived by his parents, Stephen and Susan of Pompano Beach.

"He loved what he was doing, he knew the risks, and he was proud to be a soldier fighting so others wouldn't have to," his family said in a statement. "He made us very proud."

Scherkenbach and Jacoby were posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Action Badge and other honors.

[Last modified July 4, 2005, 01:42:23]


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