Springfield veterans committee giving posthumous medal of valor to late Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan

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Thomas J. Sullivan, 40, of Springfield, Massachusetts, was killed in a terror attack on Thursday, July, 16, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (JOSEPH SULLIVAN / FACEBOOK) (File photo)
Peter Goonan | pgoonan@repub.com By Peter Goonan
on May 18, 2016 at 11:16 AM, updated May 18, 2016 at 11:17 AM

SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Veterans Activities Committee will award its Lt. J. Frank Murphy Medal of Valor posthumously to Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, a local serviceman killed in the 2015 terrorist attacks on military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The award ceremony will be on Friday, May 27, at 7 p.m., on the second floor of City Hall.

“The award to me is very important,” said Richard J. Tyrell, chairman of the Veterans Activities Committee. “It recognizes the efforts of men and women risking their lives to protect others.”

Sullivan, who grew up in East Forest Park, was among five servicemen killed when a gunman opened fire on military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 16, 2015, as he tried to rescue other fellow wounded Marines.

The Veterans Activities Committee awards its medal of valor to a resident of Springfield who had risked his or her life in saving the lives of others, or to a non-resident who performed such an act within the city of Springfield.

In April, Sullivan was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, given to those wounded or killed while serving with the U.S. armed forces.

The Lt. J. Frank Murphy Medal of Valor is named in honor of a Springfield native who led a raid in 1946 in the Philippines to capture a Japanese prison camp and rescue 511 survivors of the Bataan Death March. Murphy, who was a member of the Army 6th Ranger Infantry Battalion, was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame for his courage and distinguished leadership.

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