The US military has identified the four Marines killed on Thursday by a gunman who opened fire at two military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee. While media attention is certain to continue focusing on the killer in the days ahead, the stories of the victims began to emerge into view on Friday. The slain Marines join an ever growing list of mass shooting victims in the United States.
Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan
Sgt. Sullivan, who grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, joined the Marines in 1997. He was awarded two purple hearts and a Combat Action medal for his service during the Iraq war, where he served two tours of duty. After returning from Iraq, Sullivan graduated from American Military University with a degree in Criminal Justice. The 40-year-old was an artillery instructor, and, according to Oak Lawn Patch, was planning to retire in the next few years. He was known as “Tommy” to friends and family. Several posts expressing condolences have circulated on Facebook, including one from his brother who owns the The Nathan Bills Bar and Restaurant, and from the punk band Dropkick Murphys, one of Sullivan’s favorite bands.
Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan was deployed twice during Iraq War, received 2 Purple Hearts http://t.co/7YpL55XyZ7 pic.twitter.com/Eo3ZNA9Tac
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 17, 2015
Staff Sgt. David Wyatt
Staff Sgt. Wyatt, 39, was an operations chief who specialized in field artillery and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was awarded several medals for his service, including a Humanitarian Service Medal, and the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal. An Arkansas native, Wyatt was an Eagle Scout who studied at University of Montana. He is survived by his wife and two children.
One of 4 marines killed in Chattanooga lived in Burke Co. before enlisting. Here’s Staff Sgt. David Wyatt w/ family. pic.twitter.com/xWMZM9X2Vr
— Audrina Bigos (@AudrinaBigos) July 17, 2015
Sgt. Carson Holmquist
A Wisconsin native, 27-year-old Sgt. Holmquist was an automotive maintenance technician who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. ABC News reports that Holmquist was so proud to be a Marine that he visited his hometown immediately after bootcamp dressed in his formal blues. His former football coach told ABC News that Holmquist was an “avid sportsman who loved to hunt and fish, a young man committed to succeeding.” He is survived by his wife and young son.
Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist was deployed to Afghanistan; he was a “very proud” Marine http://t.co/lBcam5kiyH pic.twitter.com/h9cSimMYUl
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 17, 2015
Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” Wells
Cpl. Wells was just 21 years old. From Marrieta, Georgia, he reportedly left Georgia Southern University to follow his calling and was serving in the Marine Forces Reserves at the time of the attack. His mother Cathy told Fox News that the two had visited Disney World last week, where Wells was honored as a member of the military, and that he died “doing what he loved for the love of his country and his family.” ABC News reports that Cathy was a single mother and that Wells was her only child. He played clarinet in the marching band and ROTC, and had just arrived in Tennessee the day before the shooting to report for a two-week assignment.
Skip Wells. 21. Left college early 2 join Marines. Son of a Marine. Loving Boyfriend #WeSpeakYourName #Chattanooga pic.twitter.com/ae4tog8KaL
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) July 17, 2015
Updated, July 20:
Navy Petty Officer Second Class Randall Smith
On Saturday, the Navy confirmed that Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith succumbed to his injuries, bringing the death toll to five. Family members told The Navy Times that the 24-year-old from Ohio loved baseball and played for Defiance College. He joined the Navy in 2010 following in his grandfather’s footsteps, serving as a logistics specialist. Family members also told a local TV news station that, despite being seriously injured, he gave his wife the thumbs up after initial surgeries. He died in the hospital early Saturday morning. He is survived by his wife and three young daughters.
U.S. Navy Sailor Randall Smith, saw the gunman and warned others to get away before he was shot, his family says. pic.twitter.com/VwvTp5N1Ln
— WATE 6 On Your Side (@6News) July 19, 2015