Wyatt, Sullivan killed in July 16th terror attacks posthumously - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Wyatt, Sullivan killed in July 16th terror attacks posthumously awarded medals

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Two of the servicemen who lost their lives in the July 16th terror attacks are being recognized for their actions on that day.

Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan and Staff Sgt. David Wyatt were posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal on Sunday.

They helped more than a dozen of their fellow servicemen escape when a gunman opened fire at the Naval Reserve Center on Amnicola Highway. 

The families of both men received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal at Ross's Landing on Sunday.

It's the highest non-combat decoration awarded for heroism by the U.S. Department of the Navy to the members of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.

"It's just such an honor. It doesn't bring him back, but it's an honor," Deborah Boen, Staff Sgt. Wyatt's mother said.

Only around 3,000 people have received the medal. President John F. Kennedy was the first recipient for his role as a commanding officer of Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 in World War II.

"For him to have joined the ranks of all that's gone before him is amazing," Boen said.

Major Chris Cotton with the U.S. Marine Corps said Wyatt and Sullivan stayed calm and were a rock for their fellow servicemen.

Sullivan guided others to safety and Wyatt stayed on the line with dispatchers. Both went back for two people who were unaccounted for when they were shot and killed.

"They both laid down their lives.They both knew what they were going to do. They both made the conscious decision of what they were going to do. I think it's important we recognize what they did," Major Chris Cotton with the U.S. Marine Corps said.

Through it all, family members of the fallen say the people of Chattanooga have helped them heal.

"I think this city is so strong, supportive, and wonderful. I'm proud of Chattanooga," Boen said.

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