(Video is a news report from after the shooting in 2015)
Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan would have turned 42 this month but the decorated Marine chose to sacrifice his life for his fellow Marines.
Sullivan, who had already proved himself in combat in Iraq -receiving two purple hearts- had no idea he would be faced with combat at his Marine recruiting station in Tennessee.
In 2015, Sullivan was killed while trying to save the lives of his fellow Marines during an ISIS-inspired terror attack at his Chattanooga office.
Related: Mass. veteran community to honor Marine killed in Chattanooga terrorist attack
For his actions and the actions of Staff Sergeant David Wyatt, they will both be awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal- the United States Department of the Navy’s highest non-combat medal for heroism.
Related: Bereaved Marine families of Chattanooga attack receive Purple Hearts
Sullivan was one of five service members killed during the terrorist attack. He died while trying to rescue fellow wounded Marines injured during the shooting.
Sullivan’s sister, Dianne, told WWLP her brother was a protector. “Nobody would ever be left behind me, left out of any game on a playground, no not at all, so it definitely followed through from childhood to adulthood to his career in the Marines.”
Staff Sergeant David Wyatt was killed when he encountered the terrorist shooter after helping other Marines escape the recruiting station on July 16, 2015.
Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire D. ‘Skip’ Wells, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith were killed.
Sgt. DeMonte R. Cheeley was injured by a gunshot to his left and was the only to survive the attack. “I can’t take anything away from the five brave men who paid the ultimate sacrifice, I will wear this in honor of those men and every recipient before me” said Cheeley when being awarded a Purple Heart. “I can only move forward from here and continue to recruit the future of the Marine Corps.”
The Navy and Marine Corps Medals will be presented to the bereaved families in Chattanooga, Tennessee on May 7th.
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