Navy to award Purple Hearts to Chattanooga shooting victims, including Wisconsin native

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Sgt. Carson Holmquist

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee — Navy officials say they are going to award the Purple Heart to four Marines and a sailor who were killed, and a Marine who was injured when a gunman attacked a Chattanooga reserve center this past summer.

U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced the decision Wednesday in a news release that also noted that the FBI and Naval Criminal Investigation Service determined the attack was inspired by a foreign terrorist group. That determination was necessary to bestow the award.

Earlier Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey told reporters the July 16 attack was “inspired and motivated by foreign terrorist propaganda.”

Shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Killed in the attack were Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan and Lance Cpt. Squire “Skip” Wells.

Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley was injured.

Shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Senator Tammy Baldwin issued this statement on the Purple Heart award for Holmquist:

“The bravery and service of Wisconsin native Marine Sergeant Carson Holmquist will never be forgotten. The Purple Heart recognizes that Sergeant Holmquist gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation and the values we hold dear.

I had the honor of meeting the courageous family of Sergeant Holmquist at his memorial service, and I hope this recognition—bestowed on behalf of a grateful nation—helps to provide a measure of comfort as they continue to mourn their loss. My heart goes out to all of the victims of the senseless act of violence in Chattanooga and their loved ones. We must continue to work to ensure that the brave men and women of our all-volunteer force who work in their communities are adequately protected here at home.”

In July, Senator Baldwin introduced the Military Facilities Force Protection Act to better protect our men and women in uniform from the types of attacks that occurred in Chattanooga.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 includes a provision from Senator Baldwin to improve site security at military facilities.