Corporal (Retired) Mike Jernigan was born in St. Petersburg in 1978 and after spending the first 14 years of his life moving with the military, he returned to St. Petersburg and graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1997.
Mike is a third generation Marine. His grandfather retired in 1974 as a Colonel, his father left the Marines as a Staff Sergeant, completed his bachelor's degree and retired in 1993 as a Major in the U. S. Army.
Mike enlisted in the Marines on his 24th birthday in 2002. He was sworn in by his father, Major Michael V. Jernigan, Ret, United States Army. He completed boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina and went to the School of Infantry at Camp Geiger where he received the MOS of 0351, Infantry Assaultman.
Mike’s first duty station was Camp LeJeune with 1st battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. He soon became an active duty augment to Weapons Company, 1st battalion, 25th Marine Regiment and completed a 6 month deployment to Camp Schwab on the island of Okinawa.
At the end of this deployment he volunteered to transfer to Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. With 2/2 he deployed to Iraq where he served as a squad leader with Weapons Platoon. Mike served in Mahmudiyah, Zaidon, and Fallujah during the summer of 2004. On August 22, 2004 his humvee was struck by an IED (roadside bomb). Mike lost both eyes, suffered a crushed cranium and severe trauma to his right hand and left knee.
He recovered at the National Naval Medical Center, in Bethesda, MD, completed the Traumatic Brain Injury program at James A. Haley VA hospital in Tampa, FL, and then completed a 16 week blind rehabilitation program in Augusta, GA at the VA. He was medically retired December 29, 2005.
While serving in the Marine Corps Mike completed Jungle Warfare School in Okinawa and received a Combat Action Ribbon and Purple Heart while serving in Iraq.
Mike attended Georgetown University in 2008/2009. He graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, majoring in History. He started his first job after college as a Community Outreach Coordinator for Southeastern Guide Dogs immediately after graduation in the spring of 2012.
Michael L. Jernigan, USMC (Ret.)