Navy: Chattanooga victims earn Purple Hearts

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Lt. Cmdr. James Storie, Chaplain Corps, delivers the benediction at the end of the memorial at McKenzie Arena at University of Tennessee Chattanooga. The event honored the four Marines and one Sailor who died in the Navy Operational Support Center Chattanooga shooting July 16. Credit - Specialist 2nd Class Justin Wolpert/US Navy

Lt. Cmdr. James Storie, Chaplain Corps, delivers the benediction at the end of the memorial at McKenzie Arena at University of Tennessee Chattanooga. The event honored the four Marines and one Sailor who died in the Navy Operational Support Center Chattanooga shooting July 16.
Credit – Specialist 2nd Class Justin Wolpert/US Navy

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The five service members killed in the July attack on a Navy Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, along with one survivor, will receive Purple Hearts, the Navy announced on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, FBI Director James Comey said that the attack was “motivated by foreign terrorist propaganda.”

The government’s determination that a foreign terrorist group inspired the attack completed the final criteria for the awarding of a Purple Heart, according to a statement from the Navy.

“This determination allows the Department of the Navy to move forward immediately with the award of the Purple Heart to the families of the five heroes who were victims of this terrorist attack, as well as to the surviving hero, Sgt. Cheeley,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in a statement.

The Purple Heart is a military decoration awarded to service members killed or wounded while serving.

The five service members killed in the Chattanooga shooting were Thomas Sullivan, David Wyatt, Carson Holmquist, Squire “Skip” Wells and Randall Smith. DeMonte Cheeley sustained an injury but survived the attack.

The Army announced in April that it would award Purple Hearts to the service members killed or wounded in the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.

“Although the Purple Heart can never possibly replace this brave sailor and these brave Marines, it is my hope that as their families and the entire Department of the Navy team continue to mourn their loss, these awards provide some small measure of solace,” Mabus said. “Their heroism and service to our nation will be remembered always.”