Honoring the Sacrifice of Chattanooga, Tennessee

wear blue: run to remember’s Chief Financial Officer, and active duty navy officer Richard Descano, shares a moment of reflection on the recent tragedy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the bravery and dedication that led these men to service to our great nation:

wear blue: run to remember is an organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of the American Military.  With a heavy heart, the wear blue community adds five names to the list of the fallen that will be called out in the Circles of Remembrance around the country this weekend.  The members and supporters of wear blue know that is their duty to remember the names, lives, and the sacrifices made by Gunnery Sgt Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt David Wyatt, Sgt Carson Holmquist, Lance CPL Squire “Skip” Wells, and Petty Officer Randall Smith.  All of these service members made the ultimate sacrifice on 16 July 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

wear blue is an organization that was borne out of tragedy, but has persevered in ensuring that the service and sacrifice of all members in the United States Military are not forgotten.  As our Nation has sustained war for more than a decade, wear blue has unfortunately become accustom to the tragedies of service members being killed in action.  But as the operational tempo around the world has slowed, and combat deployments have decreased, so have the number of KIAs.  As a country and an organization, we are aware of the risks that our brave men and women face when they deploy to defend our nation and are grateful.  But as service members return home, to be with their friends and families, and enjoy the freedom for which they so valiantly fought, we are devastated to learn that they are still fighting a war that we all thought they had left behind.

As a military member, the bravest thing that you do is dedicate your life to your country.  Although there are examples of extreme bravery and heroism throughout every battle, a true hero is a person who gives their life to something greater than themselves.  The bond that holds all service members together is their willingness to sacrifice their lives in defense of their nation.  Most members of the military will never see combat, and will never have to face the perils of war, but the fact that as a person in a free country they are willing to stand up, and answer the call to service, speaks to their dedication to democracy and freedom.

The service members who were killed while serving their Country in Chattanooga, Tennessee did not expect to face a determined enemy while in the United States.  Three of the five service members were combat tested veterans who served with honor and distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The other two yearned to be part of the fight and serve in similar ways.  They were dedicated and were ready to do what was required to complete their mission.  And although they believed that the fighting existed beyond the borders of our Country, they along with the rest of the Nation realized that the fight continues at home.

All of the service members killed in Chattanooga have been described by their friends and family as service members who had an “unwavering passion to serve and protect”.  They were described as “heroes right to the end”.  Their loss is tragic.  The stark reality is that more Marines have been killed in Tennessee during 2015 than have been killed in Afghanistan.  Good men and women continue to serve our nation, despite the absence of a front line war.  The dangers of combat still exist.  And I thank God that I live in a country, where young men and women, freely, and without reservation, raise their right hand and dedicated their life to the service of our great Nation.  How lucky are we that the best and the brightest still rise to the occasion to serve in the strongest military, in the greatest nation this world has ever known.

May the service and sacrifice of Gunnery Sgt Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt David Wyatt, Sgt Carson Holmquist, Lance CPL Squire “Skip” Wells, and Petty Officer Randall Smith never be forgotten.  May we always remember them for the decision that they made to dedicate their lives to service so that we may continue to enjoy freedom.   May wear blue as a community come together to honor their lives and their sacrifices.  May we continue to speak their names and tell their stories.  May we continue to honor the service and sacrifice of all military members and their families as they continue to fight for our freedom.  May wear blue continue to serve as a community of healing, positivity, and remembrance.