Sailor and Marines in Chattanooga shooting to get Purple Hearts

150815-N-VC599-003 CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Aug. 15, 2015) - Battle crosses for fallen service members on stage during the memorial at McKenzie Arena at University of Tennessee Chattanooga. The memorial honored the four Marines and one Sailor who died in the Navy Operational Support Center Chattanooga shooting July 16. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Wolpert/Released)

(WCMH)– The Secretary of Navy, Ray Mabus, announced Wednesday that the four Marines killed, the Sailor killed, and the one Marine injured in the July 16 shooting, will be awarded Purple Hearts.

The awards were announced on the Navy’s website.

“On July 16th of this year, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire D. ‘Skip’ Wells, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith were killed and Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley was injured during a tragic and senseless attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee,” Mabus said.

“Following an extensive investigation, the FBI and NCIS have determined that this attack was inspired by a foreign terrorist group, the final criteria required for the awarding of the Purple Heart to this Sailor and these Marines. This determination allows the Department of the Navy to move forward immediately with the award of the Purple Heart to the families of the five heroes who were victims of this terrorist attack, as well as to the surviving hero, Sgt. Cheeley.

Although the Purple Heart can never possibly replace this brave Sailor and these brave Marines, it is my hope that as their families and the entire Department of the Navy team continue to mourn their loss, these awards provide some small measure of solace. Their heroism and service to our nation will be remembered always.”

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