With the attacks in Paris and the shootings in San Bernardino so fresh in mind, it can be jarring to realize that 5 months have passed since a gunman opened fire at two military facilities in Chattanooga, killing five.
At a Wednesday press conference, FBI Director James Comey announced that the gunman was “inspired and motivated by foreign terrorist propaganda,” a finding that was also reached in an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigation Services.
While such news cannot be said to be welcome, WATE reports that it does allow for a final honor to be bestowed upon the heroes lost in the shooting.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus released a statement announcing that:
“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.”
Secretary Mabus conceded that “although the Purple Heart can never possibly replace” these heroes, he hopes they will “provide some small measure of solace,” adding:
“Their heroism and service to our nation will be remembered always.”
The five servicemen killed in the attack were:
- Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan
- Staff Sgt. David Wyatt
- Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist
- Lance Cpl. Squire D. “Skip” Wells
- Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith
Marine recruiter Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley was injured in the attack and will also receive the Purple Heart.
It is yet to be announced which terrorist organization inspired the attack, nor when the Navy will bestow the Purple Hearts.
Nonetheless, hopefully the families of these victims will feel some small measure of comfort knowing that these brave men are getting the recognition they deserve.