Saturday, July 18, 2015

MARINES IDENTIFIED IN CHATTANOOGA SHOOTING By Courtesy Story , Headquarters Marine Corps

PENTAGON -- It is with deep regret and heartfelt sorrow that the Marine Corps can officially confirm that the following Marines were killed on July 16, 2015, at the combined Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee:

Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan (USMC) of Hampden, Massachusetts
Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt (USMC) of Burke, North Carolina
Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist (USMC) of Polk, Wisconsin
Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells (USMCR) of Cobb, Georgia

Our priorities are focused on supporting the families of our Marines involved and assisting federal investigators.

"Please keep our fallen Marines in Tennessee and their families in your thoughts and prayers," said Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr, Commandant of the Marine Corps. "Also pray for a speedy recovery of those wounded and affected by this tragedy. Our focus remains on supporting the families of our Marines."

The incident has not changed the Marine Corps' resolve to maintain a presence in our American communities. Our reserve centers will remain open, and continue with the mission of augmenting and reinforcing the active component Marine Corps with trained units and individual Marines as a sustainable and ready operational reserve in order to augment and reinforce active forces for employment across the full spectrum of crises and global engagements.

Marine Corps Recruiting Command will also remain engaged in local communities, focused on accomplishing the critical mission of finding qualified men and women to serve as United States Marines.

Names of Marine Chattanooga shooting victims revealed - Marine Times

Media outlets have identified the four Marine victims killed when when a gunman attacked two military facilities in Tennessee on Thursday.

Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, a 40-year-old reservist with 4th Marine Division, was killed in the attack on the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center in Chattanooga, the Boston Globe reported. Multiple media outlets identified Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, 37, Lance Cpl. Skip Wells, and Sgt. Carson Holmquist as the other victims of the deadly single-shooter rampage.

Sullivan, who grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, recently visited his family in nearby Hampden, MassLive reported. His family is shocked by the attack and are still trying to comprehend what happened, according to the website.

Sullivan's brother is one of the owners of Nathan Bill's Bar and Restaurant in their hometown, MassLive reported. Personnel at the restaurant declined requests for comment from Sullivan's brother. On the restaurant's Facebook page, they called Sullivan their hero and said he will never be forgotten.

A large American flag is shown hanging across the front of the restaurant, along with the Marine Corps colors.


Mobile Uploads - Nathan Bill's Bar&Restaurant | Facebook

A Facebook group for Marines who've served in Sullivan's unit also posted a message about the gunnery sergeant.

"For those who have not heard yet, one of the four Marines murdered today was one of our own — Thomas Sullivan. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. Semper Fidelis Zimminite!"


Timeline Photos - India Battery 3rd Battalion 12th Marines - I 3/12 | Facebook

The FBI is leading the investigation into the multi-pronged attack. During a news conference U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said they were "treating this as an act of domestic terrorism."

Georgia Southern University posted a statement acknowledging the death of Wells, a student there from 2012 through fall 2013.

"The entire Georgia Southern University community is saddened by the news that former student and Marine Skip Wells was killed yesterday in the Chattanooga tragedy along with three fellow Marines," university officials said in a release posted to the school's web page. "The Eagle Nation offers our deepest condolences to his family and the families of those killed and wounded during this incident."


Sullivan was ‘everything that a Marine should be’ Springfield native killed in Tenn. remembered for service, generosity - Boston

SPRINGFIELD — For nearly two hours, the US military prison in Iraq came under heavy fire, with rocket-propelled grenades blasting its western walls. But Marine Sergeant Thomas J. Sullivan was unfazed, dashing from tower to tower to check on supplies, even cracking jokes to ease the tension.

When he reached one guard tower during that 2004 battle, he broke out laughing: The floor was littered with so many spent shell casings it was like walking on jelly beans. “He was just everything that a Marine should be,” said Lance Corporal Michael David Bizzoco, who served with Sullivan in Iraq.

The man known as “Sully,” who grew up in the Springfield area spending long hours in the family pool, who won two Purple Hearts, and survived two tours in Iraq, died Thursday in the country he had served for nearly two decades. “The reason we go there is to stop it from getting here,” Bizzoco said. “But it’s here now.”

The 40-year-old gunnery sergeant was one of four Marines killed Thursday in an attack by a lone gunman on two military sites in Chattanooga, Tenn., military officials said.

His death touched off an outpouring of grief in Springfield and nearby Hampden, a small town where Sullivan and his family are well-known. At Nathan Bill’s Bar & Restaurant in Springfield, whose owners include Sullivan’s brother Joseph, a large American flag hung from the facade, bracketed by Marine Corps and Irish banners.

“Anyone who went to Holy Cross School, Cathedral High School, or grew up in the East Forest Park knew who Tommy was,” read a message posted on the bar’s Facebook page. “He was our hero and he will never be forgotten.”

Sullivan’s family declined comment and requested privacy as they mourned. Family friends said Sullivan’s death was an immense loss.

“It’s just a great family, and they don’t deserve this,” said John Jackson, who worked with Sullivan’s father at a car dealership in West Springfield. “It’s a very, very sad day.”

Sullivan, who had been stationed at the combined Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center in Chattanooga, where he provided administrative and logistical support, had recently visited his family, Jackson said. Friends said Sullivan was unmarried and had no children.


Thomas Sullivan.

Those who served with Sullivan recalled him as a quintessential Marine, a natural leader who kept his composure amid terrible chaos, and helped less experienced Marines find their way. He would often take on extra duties, including dangerous missions under fire outside the military prison, so others could get more rest. And after battles, he made a point of talking to everyone under his command.

He had wanted to be a Marine from a young age, even thinking of his high school track workouts as preparation for basic training. He joined the Marines in 1997, three years after graduating from Cathedral High School.

Tim Hourihan, a high school classmate, said Sullivan was a popular, dynamic presence on campus who rose above teenage cliques.

“Everyone knew Sully,” he said. “Just an all-around awesome guy.”

Hourihan, who ran track with Sullivan, said his classmate aspired to military service from a young age.

“He was destined to be a Marine,” he said. “It was his calling.”

Sullivan’s fellow Marines described a quick-witted, empathetic leader known for always checking in with junior Marines to see how they were holding up under the strain of combat. He was always cracking jokes, even in the most challenging situations.

“He used to always say, ‘I’m just a cartoon character,’ ” said Mike Ursery, a former Marine sergeant who was stationed with Sullivan at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina in 2004 and 2012.

Sullivan was forever doing impressions, sometimes adopting an Irish or German accent, sometimes impersonating other members of the unit, Ursery said. He had a generous spirit, and was always willing to share advice.

“They would just take in everything he said,” Ursery said.

Sullivan’s Purple Hearts were received during a deployment to Abu Ghraib, a notorious prison outside Baghdad. He received the first after his truck was hit by an improvised explosive device, Ursery said, and the second after a 2005 firefight, when he sustained a shrapnel wound to his wrist.


Thomas Sullivan.

During that battle, Sullivan seemed to be everywhere all at once: firing back at the insurgents, checking on his men, swinging past the base hospital to help with the wounded, Bizzoco said.

The next day, Sullivan addressed a group of his men, many of whom were still in shock. Marine Staff Sergeant Michael Holmes recalled Sullivan saying this: “If there’s any shred of childhood innocence left in any of us, it’s now gone. And we are all forever changed.”

Then 21, Holmes didn’t quite understand what Sullivan meant. But in time, he realized.

“He’s the guy that I think about trying to be, as a leader of the Marines,” Holmes said.

On Friday, Holmes spent a long time looking at a picture of Sullivan and thinking about what they had survived together.

“It’s just like losing a brother,” he said.

In Springfield’s East Forest Park neighborhood, residents mourned the loss of a native son. John Basile, 69, teared up as he spoke about Sullivan. He didn’t know him, but has a son in the Air Force.

“There’s no reason to go after innocent people,” he said. “It’s really the suffering of the innocent. I don’t like that at all.”

Jackson, a family friend, said Sullivan’s father often spoke proudly of his son’s military career.

“He was overseas and then he gets killed in the States,” he said. “This world has gone to hell in a handbasket.”

Tricia Cole, 66, lived next door to Sullivan when his family lived in Springfield, and remembered when his parents brought him home from the hospital.

“He was this cute, little blond-haired, blue-eyed kid who was just the sweetest thing in the world,” she said.

Growing up, Sullivan shared a bedroom with his brother Joseph and spent hours swimming in the family’s pool, riding bikes, and running around. .

Cole hadn’t seen Sullivan in some time, but when she saw his picture on the news, she instantly recognized him.

“He had the same smile,” she said.

As the Springfield area mourned, political leaders extended their condolences to the Sullivan family. “Terror comes home to Massachusetts,’’ Governor Charlie Baker said. “God Bless Tom Sullivan and his family and friends.”

On Facebook, hundreds sent their condolences to Sullivan’s family. The Dropkick Murphys, one of Sullivan’s favorite rock bands, posted a picture of Sullivan standing under the band’s logo, and said their prayers were with the families of those killed.

“My brother would love this,” posted Sullivan’s brother, Joseph.

Secret plans for D-Day landings surface among WW2 Royal Navy hero's belongings 71 years later

Secret plans for the D-Day landings have surfaced 71 years after they were used in the invasion by one of the Navy’s most decorated sailors.

The rarely-seen papers belonged to fearless Lieutenant Commander Nigel Pumphrey and are being sold along with his collection of gallantry medals.

His collection of nautical maps and orders detail where the huge Allied armadacarrying more than 20,000 troops was to meet in the English Channel – an assembly area known as Piccadilly Circus.

BNPSThe cover of Operation 'Neptune' Force 'J' Naval Operation Orders.
Top secret: The cover of Operation 'Neptune' Force 'J' Naval Operation Orders.

The documents showed Mr Pumphrey, who had already won the prestigious Distinguished Service Order three times and the Distinguished Service Cross for acts of bravery at sea before setting sail for Normandy on June 6 1944, the route he was to take to the French coast.

Along with the medals, they are expected to fetch £30,000 when sold at London auctioneers Spinks by his family next week.

Orders: The documents have rarely been seen

The firm’s Mary Quayle said: “I have never come across copies of the D-Day maps before.

“They would have been given to people on a need-to-know basis and they were top secret.”

On D-Day, Mr Pumphrey commanded a ship taking troops to Gold Beach during Operation Neptune.

Before the landings that marked the beginning of the end of Hitler’s reign, he distinguished himself by attacking enemy ships at close range in Motor Torpedo Boats and destroyers.

Picadilly Circus: Original maps of the route to the D-Day Beaches with detailed tide diagrams

One of his DSOs was for taking HMS Brocklesby to within 500 yards of the beach during the disastrous Dieppe raid of 1942, despite coming under heavy bombing and fire.

His brave actions meant many commandos were able to escape after being overwhelmed by the enemy.

In September 1941 Mr Pumphrey showed “courage and skill” to sink a German supply ship and damaged three more.

Hero: Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Nigel Pumphrey

Five months later he attacked three enemy battleships protected by 10 E-boats and several destroyers.

Ms Quayle said: “Nigel Pumphrey was one of only 19 Royal Navy officers awarded the DSO three times.

"He was in the thick of it and the nature of those small craft meant there was scope for acting independently which is where he excelled himself.”

Mr Pumphrey, originally from Ryton-on-Tyne, near Newcastle, left the Navy in 1956 after 32 years. He retired to Greatham, Hants, and died in 1994 aged 84.



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