Haslam to pay Memorial Day tribute to soldiers killed in Chattanooga attack

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May 25th, 2016 by Staff Report in Politics State Read Time: 1 min.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam speaks during the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Awards luncheon at the Chattanoogan Hotel on Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

CORRECTION: Randall Smith died three days after the shooting, not three years as originally stated.


NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Haslam and other state officials will pay tribute to the five U.S. military reservists slain last year in Chattanooga during their planned Memorial Day service in Nashville on Friday.

The five service members killed in a shooting spree inspired by terrorists are among seven who will be memorialized for their “ultimate sacrifice while serving in the Armed Forces” according to a news release from the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services.

Also participating will be Veterans Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder and Tennessee Adj. Gen. Max Haston

Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist and Lance Corporal Squire Wells were killed in a terrorist attack at the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center in Chattanooga on July 16, 2015.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, who was critically wounded in the shooting, died three days later.

FBI Director James Comey later said shooter Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez “was inspired, motivated by foreign terrorist organization propaganda.”

During Friday’s ceremony, Haslam and other officials also intend to memorialize a soldier killed 73 years ago in the Pacific Theater during World War II. First Lt. Alexander Bonnyman was killed Nov. 22, 1943, during the Battle of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.

But it wasn’t until 2015 that Bonnyman’s remains were recovered and identified. The Medal of Honor recipient was finally buried last year in Knoxville.

Yet another soldier being honored, Sgt. Gary Reese, was killed Aug. 13, 2005 when the Humvee he was riding in during a mission in Iraq was struck by an improvised explosive device, killing Reese and two other soldiers. Gary Reese, Sr. and Cathy Reese will receive the Gold Star Family Proclamation.

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