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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, June 3, 2016

Governor Haslam memorializes Chattanooga service members




On Friday, May 27, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam joined Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder and Major General Terry “Max” Haston of the Tennessee Military Department at the War Memorial Plaza in Nashville to pay tribute to the four Marines and one sailor killed in Chattanooga on July 16, 2015.

Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan of Springfield, Mass., was assigned to Mike Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division in Chattanooga, where he served as Battery Gunnery Sergeant when he was killed. He was 40 years old. No family or designee attended on his behalf.

Staff Sergeant David Wyatt was born in Morganton, N.C., but grew up in Ozark and Russellville, Ark. He was serving as Operations Chief at Mike Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division when he was killed. He was 35 years old. He was laid to rest at the Chattanooga National Cemetery on July 24, 2015. Retired Gunnery Sergeant Brian Marzluf and his wife, Gretchen Gilliam Marzluf, represented the Wyatt family.

Sergeant Carson Holmquist of Grantsburg, Wis., was assigned to Mike Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division when he was killed at the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center in Chattanooga. He was 25 years old. His wife Jasmin Holmquist received the Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal on her husband’s behalf.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith of Paulding, Ohio was assigned to Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga when he was critically wounded. On July 18, 2015, Smith died from his injuries. He was 26 years old. Smith was laid to rest at the Chattanooga National Cemetery on July 28, 2015. His father, Tracy Smith, received the Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal on his son’s behalf.

Lance Corporal Squire “Skip” K.P. Wells of Marietta, Ga., was serving as a cannoneer with Mike Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division in Chattanooga when he was killed. He was 21 years old. His mother Cathy Wells received the Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal on her son’s behalf.

“Over the years, we have met families and heard the courageous stories of their loved ones killed in battlefields abroad, but last July, five service members were killed serving right here in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “The tragedy in Chattanooga is one of many reminders of the dangers facing our troops today. We honor those five brave men who lost their lives that day and remember all the men and women who willingly lay down their lives for our freedom.”

“Let us remember the significance of the loss of these precious lives and the legacies that not only live on in the families they leave behind, but in each of us as Tennesseans and Americans,” Grinder said. “We remain an incredibly strong country and state due to their courageous sacrifice.”

“Memorial Day is not just another holiday; it is about honoring the heroes who are here only in spirit,” Haston said. “Memorial Day is a day of solemn mourning, but it is also a day of reverent celebration – a celebration of men and women who dared all, who gave all, so we might continue to enjoy the freedoms and benefits of this great nation.”

The Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal may be awarded on behalf of the people of the State of Tennessee to an individual serving on active duty who has been killed in an attack that specifically targets military service members or is carried out by an individual inspired or directed by a foreign terrorist organization. The award is posthumously awarded to service members who are legal residents of this state or stationed in this state. The law went into effect July 1, 2011, and is not retroactive. The law was amended in 2016 to include service members stationed within the state.

Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medals not presented on behalf of Gunnery Sergeant Sullivan and Staff Sergeant Wyatt will be presented to their next of kin at a future date.

Source: The Office of the Governor