Marines Killed in Tennessee Shooting Were Decorated Veterans of Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

The men were loving fathers and sons who served their country with honor

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty

Just one day after four Marines were killed in two attacks on military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, their families and friends mourn the men who were eager to consider themselves part of the few and the proud.

The United States Marine Corp. confirm the dead include Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan of Hampden, Massachusetts; Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells of Cobb, Georgia; Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt of Chattanooga; and Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, of Polk, Wisconsin.

It’s believed Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, who also died, carried out the shootings.

New Englander Sullivan joined the Marines nearly 18 years ago and earned numerous awards and distinctions – a Purple Heart and Combat Action Ribbon among them – for his service, including two deployments to Iraq.

On Thursday night, a Massachusetts bar and restaurant named Nathan Bill’s that according to The New York Times is owned by Sullivan’s brother, posted a series of photos of Sullivan along with a memorial message on its Facebook page.

“Rest In Peace Gunnery SGT. Thomas Sullivan. Anyone who went to Holy Cross School, Cathedral High School or grew up in the East Forest Park knew who Tommy was. He was our hero and he will never be forgotten. Please keep his family & friends in your thoughts & prayers. Thank you Tommy for protecting us.”

Lance Cpl. Wells, known as “Skip” to his friends according to the Times, joined the Marines in February of last year and served as a field artillery cannoneer.

Wells’s friend, Lindsey Pittman, told the Times the clarinet-playing former Junior ROTC member arrived in Chattanoonga last Sunday for a brief training, and was earnest to fulfill his duties honorably.

“He was very protective over everyone that he loved,” Pittman said. “That transferred to his job: Serve and protect.”

His mother, Cathy Wells, agreed, telling CNN: “My son died doing what he loved for the love of his country and his family.”

Staff Sgt. Wyatt, originally from Burke, North Carolina, joined the Marines in 2004 and earned numerous awards for his service in Iraq and Afghanistan, including a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

He leaves behind a wife and children who reside in Chattanooga, reports The Tennessean.

According to CNN, his wife, Lori Wyatt, acknowledged his death on Facebook, posting a photo of her husband hugging their two small children as they clutched American flags.

“There is no sleep tonight,” a family member posted Facebook late Thursday night, The Tennessean reports.

Holmquist served two tours in Afghanistan since he joined the Marines in 2009, earned numerous accolades including a Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal and a Humanitarian Service Medal.

According to CNN, his Facebook page was filled with emotional photos of the wife and son he leaves behind.

“He was fighting for his country,” his father, Tom Holmquist, told the Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel. “It’s a tough time right now.”

With reporting by SUSAN KEATING

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