Fellow Marine friend remembers Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan
Funeral services continued Monday for one of the servicemen killed in Chattanooga.
U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan was laid to rest in his home town of Springfield, Massachusetts, Monday.
The 40-year-old was one of five killed when a gunman opened fire at a military installation on Amnicola Highway July 16. Following the funeral, Sullivan was buried in Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
In a statement, the family of Sergeant Sullivan said they are "truly humbled by the outpouring of support."
Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan was known to look out for his fellow marines, he did that the day he died by helping more than a dozen others escape before turning back for two servicemen who were unaccounted for. His close friends say he'd never leave a man behind, that's just the kind man he was.
"He was very intense, focused and always looking out for everybody," said U.S. Marine Sgt. Joey Ferguson (Ret.) "He would put others before himself."
U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan loved serving his country, he was everything a Marine should be - strong, brave, compassionate and charismatic. When his fellow marines needed a smile, he always had a joke ready. Long time friend Sgt. Joey Ferguson describes his former squad leader as someone who took charge in high stress situations and someone you could always count on.
"He taught me the ropes of being a leader," said Ferguson. "He once said, 'leadership comes from the heart, by actions of showing and doing... not just telling.'"
The two-time purple heart recipient survived 2 tours of duty in Iraq, only to die on American soil. Not only was he brave, he was a true friend to his fellow Marines.
"He would message me on Facebook, call me you know, 'if you need someone to talk to I'm here' and it gets to me sometimes just thinking about it," said Ferguson.
Sullivan was there for Retired Sgt. Joey Ferguson when he lost his leg back in 2011 after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan.
"He'd always look out for you, he had your back," said Ferguson. "He would give you the shirt off his back if you were cold and he'd give you his jacket. If you were hot, he would put air conditioner on you and he would pull it out of the sky. He made me proud to be a Marine, proud to know him, proud to serve under him, know him as a friend and have him as a mentor."
Sgt. Ferguson couldn't make it to Sullivan's funeral but attended Staff Sgt. David Wyatt's funeral last week, the two were also close friends. He says above all, he hopes the community won't forget their sacrifice.