Washington, DC - Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today that the Department of the Navy will award the Purple Heart to the four Marines and one Sailor killed and the Marine injured during the July 16 attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
"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."