Two Marines killed in the Chattanooga terrorist attack in July 2015 were posthumously honored Sunday with Navy and Marine Corps Medals.
The families of Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan and Staff Sergeant David Wyatt received the medals on their behalf. The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the the highest non-combat decoration for heroism awarded to members of both branches of service.
The public ceremony on Sunday took place at 2 p.m. at Ross’s Landing, reports WTVC NewsChannel 9.
Sullivan, 37, and Wyatt, 40, were among four Marines and one sailor killed when Islamic jihad terrorist Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez attacked the Naval Operational Support Center in Chattanooga after firing at a recruiting center seven miles away.
Wyatt was first to call the police, and then both he and Sullivan took the lead in moving personnel to safety, a Marine Corps Forces Reserve spokesman told the Marine Corps Times.
Wyatt also told his junior troops to guide children at a nearby neighborhood park to a building, where they stayed sheltered until the incident was over.
After most of the Marines had been safely evacuated from the support center, it became clear that some were not accounted for, the spokesman said.
“So Gunnery Sgt. Sullivan and Staff Sgt. Wyatt purposefully returned to the scene of the incident where it was readily apparent that they would be in grave danger, and ultimately sacrificed themselves to ensure the safety of their fellow Marines,” said the spokesman.
All five service members killed in the attack have posthumously received the Purple Heart. The other service members were Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells and Logistics Navy Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith.
St. DeMonte Cheeley, a Marine who was shot in the leg at the recruiting center, also received the Purple Heart. He returned to work at the recruiting station only two days after the attack.