Chris Plekenpol pushed life to the limits as a commander in the Army, and just as he was ready to put that aside and embark on a career in seminary, he received the news he was being sent to Iraq. There, he watched his comrades and enemies die in front of his eyes. Sharing his story with audiences around the nation, Chris weaves an engaging message of triumph that only comes through forgiving and trusting God.
After graduating from West Point in 1999, Chris Plekenpol served as a combat company commander in Korea and Iraq. As he was about to embark on a career in the seminary, he was called to serve as the commander of a tank company in Iraq. After losing his first soldier early on, Chris insisted on spending an hour in the chapel every day where he grew closer to God and came to cherish his time of prayer each morning. However, during the battle of Fallujah, Chris witnessed massive explosions and rushed to the aid of some of his troops when a car crashed into the side of their tank. He quickly realized the driver had a car bomb and called the bomb squad to disable its initiator. In doing so, the bomb squad detonated a C-4 explosive that urged the driver out as he tried to escape the flames. With his tank staring the driver down, Chris was conflicted about whether or not to save the life of his enemy. Ultimately, he watched as the car bomb erupted, ripping the driver apart. In that moment, Chris saw himself as a terrorist towards God since he was not willing to save his enemy, but knew that God would redeem him for his sins.
Today, Chris is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and speaks to audiences around the world. He is an energetic speaker who is able to reach youth, by addressing the issues they face, as well as the adult community.
While stationed in Iraq, Chris Plekenpol was responsible for 100 men, six of whom he would ultimately lose, and played a key role in assisting the 1st Marine Division in taking Fallujah in November 2004. He also played a large part in the first free elections in Iraq in January 2005 and had the responsibility of securing and capturing terrorists along the highway that connected Fallujah and Ramadi.
While in Iraq, Chris wrote Faith in the Fog of War Vol. I & II, which offer readers a firsthand account of the Iraq War and the unshakable faith that he saw through the battles raging both on the ground and in his heart.
Chris resigned from the Army in August 2006 and graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary in May 2010 with a Master’s of Theology. His latest book Stumbling Souls: Is Love Enough? tells the true story of what happened when he took in a homeless Hurricane Katrina victim off the streets and put God’s agenda ahead of his own.
Chris continues to share his story on college campuses, and in mega-churches, prisons, men’s conferences and youth camps. He married his wife Adrienne in March 2011.