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Army Capt. William K. Jernigan

Died November 24, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

35, of Doraville, Ga.; assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; died Nov. 24 in Baqubah, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat-related incident.

Third Stryker Brigade soldier dies

The Associated Press

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A Fort Wainwright soldier has died in Iraq.

Capt. William K. Jernigan, a 35-year-old Doralville, Ga., native, died of injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident.

The Defense Department says the incident is under investigation.

Jernigan was assigned to the Headquarters Company, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry.

Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday said she will send an Alaska state flag and a letter of condolence to his family.

9/11 inspired 1st lt. to join Army at age 28

The Associated Press

William K. Jernigan joined the Army relatively late — at 28. It was soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

He was living in a commune in British Columbia, Canada, but the attacks on the homeland strongly affected him, so he returned to the U.S. to join the Army.

“He saw the attacks and decided he needed to do something to serve like thousands of other people decided,” said Maj. Glenn Gambrell.

Jernigan, 35, of Doraville, Ga., died Nov. 24 in Baqouba of injuries suffered from a non-combat incident. He was assigned to Fort Wainwright.

Jernigan enlisted as a private and was quickly promoted to sergeant. After obtaining his associate degree, he enrolled in Officer Candidate School and made lieutenant, serving as a military intelligence officer.

The lieutenant sometimes came across as a rough-and-tumble character. Gambrell recounted one incident in which several soldiers were surprised to see Jernigan eating yogurt with a knife.

“He immediately struck me as the type who would much rather live in the woods than sit behind a desk all day,” Gambrell said of first meeting Jernigan.

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