By Debbie Gregory.
While questions linger over the shooting in Chattanooga, it is with heavy hearts that we pay tribute to the victims.
Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, 40, was a hero to the end. The Springfield, MA native was running to the aid of his wounded brothers in arms when he was fatally shot. “Gunny,” as he was known to his fellow Marines, served two tours of duty in Iraq, and earned two Purple Hearts. Sullivan had been a Marine since 1997.
Marine Lance Cpl. Skip Wells, 21, of Marietta, Ga. followed in a long family military tradition dating to his great-grandfather’s Navy service in World War II. He had sent an alarming text to his girlfriend, Caroline; “ACTIVE SHOOTER.” Her first thought was that he was playing a sick joke, but she grew alarmed when she was unable to reach him.
Staff Sgt. David Wyatt joined the Marines in 2004, and had served three deployments, two of which were in Iraq. Wyatt was an active-duty member of Mike Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marines, an artillery unit based in Chattanooga. He became a staff sergeant in 2011, and planned to serve at least 20 years and earn a full military retirement. He was married with two young children.
Sgt. Carson Holmquist of Grantsburg, Wisconsin, enlisted in the Marines in January, 2009, and had already completed two tours in Afghanistan. Holmquist was a diesel mechanics specialist. He was married with a young son.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith, who had been wounded in the shooting rampage died two days after the attack. The logistics specialist saw the shooter and warned people around him, but he was unable to get away..
The Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga was one of two military sites in the city that were targeted by Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez.
The two remaining wounded survivors are a Marine recruiter who was shot in the leg and a responding Chattanooga police officer, Dennis Pedigo, who was shot in the ankle.
Our hearts, thoughts and sincere sympathies go out to all of the families and loved ones of the victims.
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Sadly, Paying Tribute: Military Connection: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory