Chattanooga Victims Finally to Receive Purple Hearts

By Faye Higbee

Chattanooga victims finally to receive Purple Hearts

Four U.S. Marines and one U.S. Navy sailor will receive the purple heart posthumously after  officials finally categorized the incident as having been from a foreign- influenced attacker. The deadly terrorist attack in took place at recruiting stations in Chattanooga, Tennessee on July 16, 2015. One living Marine will also receive the medal.

 chattanooga victims

Five men – 4 Marines and a Sailor, along with one living victim, will receive the purple heart (screenshot)

The announcement came just hours after the FBI director labelled the attack as  “terrorist” in nature. They may have investigated it as that from the beginning, but as if they had marbles in their mouths, they refused to call it an Islamic terror attack.

“We’ve investigated Chattanooga as a terror attack from the beginning. The Chattanooga killer was inspired by a foreign terror organization. It’s hard to entangle which particular source … there are lots of competing poisons out there.” FBI Director James Comey

The purple heart nominees

The Navy Times wrote,

“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,” Mabus said in a statement. “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.”

…Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt and Sgt. Carson Holmquist were killed at Navy Operational Support Center Chattanooga on July 16, and Navy Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith died July 18 from wounds sustained during the shooting. Marine Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley was shot in the leg and later recovered. Navy Times

Heroism under fire

The investigation into the shooting  on July 16 revealed numerous  acts of heroism by United States Marine Corps personnel. One shielded his daughter from the gunfire, and prevented another colleague from becoming a target.

According to the Marine Corps Times,

Lance Cpl. Christopher Gilliam, the most junior Marine in the office, was first to spot the shooter and yelled to the others to run. Meyer was seated in his office when a bullet came through the wall and hit the ceiling. When he stood up and saw Abdulazeez, Meyer told the investigating officer, he immediately “grabbed my daughter and yelled at the same time for [Sgt. Winfield] Thompson to ‘get down.’ ” Thompson, who was in Meyer’s office when the attack began, was ready to run, Meyer’s statement reads. Doing so could have made him an easy target.

According to authorities, Marines are not specifically trained for ‘lone wolf’ attacks…but their adaptability in the face of danger shines through the political winds. Finally these men will get what they deserve, and their families the benefits that come with the purple heart designation. The victims at the 2009 Fort Hood shooting had to wait nearly 6 years for the determination.