Scherbring brothers share decorated military careers

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By Caroline Rosacker

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Scherbring and his brother, Master Sergeant Nicholas Scherbring, grew up on the family's dairy farm near Guttenberg. Their parents, Donald and Madonna Scherbring, raised seven children — four boys and three girls. They attended St. Mary's and Guttenberg High School. Nick enlisted in the Navy following high school, and Mark received a commission into the Army two years later.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Scherbring

Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Mark Scherbring and his wife, the former Rebecca (Becky) Roberts, currently reside in Cherokee. The couple recently relocated from Williamsburg, Va., with their three children, Sophie, Clayton and Tyler. 

LTC Scherbring is currently retired. "I am retired, meaning I am the keeper of my own clock," he noted. "However, I am taking on crop farming on a small scale, and also working on the list of home improvement/remodeling projects in our 1890's home." 

Mark's motivation for joining the Army presented itself while he was enrolled in college. "In the fall of 1997, I transferred to the University of Northern Iowa and met up with a group of Army Reservists who were enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)," he explained. "One thing led to another and the next thing I knew I was getting scholarship money to assist with college, and it gave me a solid job opportunity immediately out of college. By the spring of 2000 I had secured an aviation training commission, and was on my way to learn how to fly." After serving his country for 20 years and three months, LTC Scherbring retired on Sept. 1, 2020. 

He shared this story, "During my first deployment (Feb. 2003 - Feb. 2004) to Iraq the unit would hire local nationals to work on the base. I met a young Iraqi boy, Akram Besheer Ahamed (spelling uncertain), who would help our unit pressure-wash equipment and help out wherever he could to earn some spending money.  Akram always called me 'Captain My Friend' because he understood my military rank, but could not pronounce my last name, so to him, I was 'Captain My Friend.' As my unit was nearing its redeployment date I would occasionally have something I could part with and he or a family member would either find a use for it, or they would sell it at the village market, or in Mosul. He was always very grateful to have the ability to find work to help his family." 

LTC Scherbring's hobbies include collecting Native American artifacts that he has found across the U.S.  "As a matter of fact, the case in which I have them displayed was built in the Clayton Ridge (formerly Guttenberg High School) shop class, under the tutelage of Mr. Noack," he added. "I also enjoy hiking, hunting, fishing, anything outdoors, and teaching my children how to do the same."

Career highlights

Mark and his wife, Becky, have served through 46 total months of combat deployments. His first deployment began in February 2003 with the 1-101 Attack Battalion (No Mercy Battalion) of the 101st Airborne Division (Screaming Eagles) to Kuwait, and crossed into Iraq in March 2003 to free the Iraqi people. During this time he conducted deep attacks, close combat attack support, air assault security, and aerial reconnaissance operations supporting the troops on the ground. 

In 2005, he again deployed with the 101st Aviation Brigade, serving as a brigade operations officer managing over 40 missions daily and tasking aviation support to emerging situations within the area of operations. 

From December 2007 to March 2009, Mark deployed again with the 101st on a 15-month deployment supporting operations in Regional Command-South Afghanistan. During this time he served as an Apache attack helicopter company commander of Company C, 1st Battalion, 101 st. Aviation Brigade, then as the Aviation Liasion Officer to the NATO Headquarters in Kandahar. In 2013, he deployed with the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division to Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan. He served as the aviation brigade planner at Bagram and as the Chief of Operations for 1st Brigade 10th Mountain Division at Forward Operations Base Ghazni.

During his career, Mark has flown over 650 combat flight hours in the Apache and over 1700 total flight hours. 

Service awards

LTC Scherbring’s awards include two Bronze Stars, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Air Medals, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (two-time Campaign Stars), Iraq Campaign Medal (three-time Service Stars), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) medal, three Meritorious Unit Citations and a Joint Meritorious Unit Citation. His badges include the Combat Action Badge, Senior Aviator Badge and Air Assault Badge. 

E7 Master Sergeant Nicholas Scherbring

E7 Master Sergeant Nicholas Scherbring, a self-described middle child, grew up with three brothers and three sisters. He, and his wife, Heather, reside in Cedar Rapids and are parents to five children, Evylynn, Elynnor, Robert, Maybelle and four-month-old Jameson. He retired from the Iowa Air National Guard in September 2018, and is currently employed at Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo. His hobbies include gardening, hunting and woodworking. 

Career highlights

Master Sergeant Scherbring served his country as a Nuclear Electronics Technician Submariner in the Navy, and Radio Transmissions Airmen in the Air Force. "I joined the Navy straight out of high school and entered United States Navy Basic Training in June 18, 1998," said Master Sergeant Scherbring. "I began Naval Nuclear Training in August 1998 and was assign to USS (SSN 709) Hyman G. Rickover, a Los Angeles Class submarine based in Norfolk, Va., in April 2000.  It was an opportunity to see the world and get an education." 

Master Sergeant Scherbring had three submarine deployments in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. During his North Atlantic Deployment of 2003-04 Nicholas enjoyed the opportunity to travel through the European countries of Scotland, Norway, and Great Britain. Some of his most memorable moments were discussing the United Kingdom history with a local merchant in Portsmouth, England, and the tour guides of Scotland’s Stirling Cathedral and Stirling Castle. After visiting the shores of the United Kingdom their submarine went underway for greater than 70 days under the Arctic Ocean.  The crew pulled into Tromso, Norway, where MSGT Scherbring was able to visit the northernmost McDonald’s restaurant.  He also had the opportunity to enjoy the local fare of reindeer, numerous Atlantic fish, and the Norwegians’ beer and ale. He noted,”It was real odd – how in the winter in Tromso you never see the sun.  The night would start to give to the day and a half hour later it was dark again.”  That winter season the crew of USS Hyman G. Rickover did not see the full sun from Thanksgiving until they returned to Scotland in late March 2004.  

He joined the Dubuque Naval Reserves after he left active service in Nov. 2004.  With the Naval Reserves he was attached to Joint Command Lisbon, a NATO unit.  As a NATO unit member he was given a chance to work with different members of armed services of the European contingent of NATO.  He assisted with two different training exercises with NATO, one land-based and the other sea-based.

“After six and a half years of active duty I returned home to attend ISU/NICC Peosta, and enlisted into the Naval Reserve Unit from November 2004 - September 2006, in Dubuque,” he said. “After the closure of the Dubuque Reserve Center I joined the Iowa Air National Guard 133rd Test Squadron in September 2006. I joined the guard because of the financial support they offered for college.  At the time they offered to repay my student loan and pay 100 percent of my tuition for college.”

He went on to say, “It is not that common for a service member to change branches, but they do change services. Some military programs are specifically designed to take enlisted members from one branch and offer them officer positions in another branch. I know the Army had a Blue to Green program where you could be selected as a Navy Enlisted member to become a helicopter pilot in the Army.  In my 20 years of service I have known at least a dozen people who have changed branches of services.” 

After his tour of duty with the Navy and Naval Reserves he deployed with the Iowa Air National Guard’s 133rd Test squadron to Turkey from Oct. 2017 - May 2018. He served on the Turkey/Syria border and was responsible for 10 personnel and communication equipment valued at $3 million dollars. The unit maintained communications to forward deployed armed service members, and supplied radar for pilots who supported the ground troops. He maintained an equipment operability rate of 98 percent, which was vital to providing command and control coverage support of Operation Inherent Resolve. 

Service awards

He served for 20 years retiring as an E7-Master Sergeant. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Achievement Medal twice, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Services, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Battle E Medal, and Air Force Outstanding Unit.

 

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