|Birth: ||Jul. 23, 1923|
|Death: ||Dec. 4, 1978|
US Air Force
World War II
Irocus Edward Jernigan Jr. Retired Col. USAF command pilot, entrepreneur, tax appraiser, visionary. Jr. as he was called during his early years was truly a child of the great depression. His dad had gone bankrupt and lost everything including their household furnishings, and even some of the canned fruit and vegetables which mama had prepared for the winter's food.
By the time he was 10 or so he was being counted on to do a man's days' work on the farm. This hard and constant work went on year around from daylight to dark. In fact the morning feeding of the live stock was done before dawn so they would be ready for harnessing and working by the time daylight came. During one period he and his dad got up about a couple of hours or more before dawn and the two of them rode the mule 7 miles to the county seat so his dad could meet the WPA work truck which had them at the road paving/building site by daylight where dad worked and Jr. rode the mule back home. He then did what he could of a days' work on the crop, mounted the mule in the late afternoon and rode him back to the county seat to pick up dad and return him home, getting into bed around 10pm then getting up the next morning between 3 and 4 am to repeat the same long and tiring day.
Jr was only 17 when Pearl Harbor was attacked and the US entered WWII. For the year or two prior to that time our family had managed to open a country store, pay the creditors, and had a going business and a good car. The US 30th Division (a Illinois NG) unit had been activated and was barracked about 8 miles from our then business. Jr. would for a fee load 5 or 6 soldiers in our car and drive them to Chicago Friday evening/night pick them up there on Sunday afternoon and return them to camp. He made a nice sum of money for each of these high speed trips.
As he approached 18 it was obvious he would have to serve in the military. His older brother and other family members helped get him into the CPC (Civilian Pilot Corp, a military sponsored program where students attended a contracted college and learned to fly). Following that he was accepted in the Army Air Corp Aviation Cadet Corp. By this time The Army Air Corps was beginning to realize they had pretty well trained as many pilots as they needed, however they were not ready to shut the program down. Instead they slowed everything down so that a program which was designed to take 9 months wound up taking almost 2 years. Finally and shortly before the end of the war Jr. graduated as an Army Pilot and was commissioned a revere 2nd Lt.
His superior natural ability as a pilot was proven by him graduating from the B24 (a then very large and complex 4 engine bomber) pilot transition course on Friday and reporting for duty the following Monday at the same airport as a Instructor Pilot (IP) in the B24.
Shortly after the war was over he returned to middle Tenn. with his young wife and soon to be first baby and bought a army surplus truck. With this truck hauled most anything that provided a payoff and most of the times was actually buying loads of produce, farm products, and lumber then hauling these items to a distant market where he sold them, usually realizing a nice profit. Soon he was able to buy a new truck which he made into a tractor and bought a trailer to go with it. With the help of his younger brother he operated this two truck fleet for three or so years making a decent living, buying, house, car, furniture, begetting three babies.
Shortly before the advent of the Korean war he had the opportunity to return to the Army Air Corps as a pilot. With the encouragement of his wife he decided to do this and for the next 20 plus years he served on active duty with the USAF Tactical Air Command (TAC) with tours in France, Japan/Korea, and later Vietnam rising to the rank of L/Col. I.E. retired in 1968 and once again turned his hand to running his own business, this time with a truck and drag line doing some land development activities in Florida. This venture did not work out as well as he had thought it would and he gave it up for employment as an appliance/TV salesman. Shortly thereafter he took and passed the state tax appraiser's exam and went to work at the Georgia Department of Revenue Headquarters, Atlanta. He was still working there at the time of his untimely death at age 54.
- Chris Jernigan
Added: Feb. 6, 2007
Helen Jean Jernigan (1924 - 2009)*
Marietta National Cemetery
Plot: SECTION Q SITE 35-C
Imported from: US Veteran's Affairs
Record added: Mar 04, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 3951676
Irocus Edward Jernigan Jr. Retired Col. USAF command pilot, entrepreneur, tax appraiser, visionary. Jr. as he was called during his early years was truly a child of the great depression. His dad had gone bankrupt and lost everything including their hou...(Read more)|
Added: Feb. 6, 2007