Marine killed in Tennessee terror was Iraq vet, earned Purple Heart.

Family confirms Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan among Chattanooga victims

One of the four US Marines killed at the hands of a Kuwaiti-born shooter was a 40-year-old from Massachusetts who served two tours of duty in Iraq and earned a Purple Heart, according to reports.

Springfield native Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan and three other Marines were cut down at the hands of Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez at a Navy and Marines facility after he opened fire earlier at a recruiting center in Chattanooga.

“For those who have not heard yet, one of the four Marines murdered today was one of our own – Thomas Sullivan. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. Semper Fidelis Zimminite!” reads a post on the Facebook page of India Battery 3rd Battalion 12th Marines.

“There’s no Marine you would want that was better in combat than him,” said his pal Josh Parnell of Chicago, Oak Lawn Patch reported. “He’d been shot at so many times over the years and then for this to happen at home in the United States.”

Sullivan, a Marine since 1997, took part in Iraq’s Battle of Abu Ghraib in 2005 and was awarded a Combat Action medal, Parnell told Patch.

Sullivan’s grief-stricken parents, Betty and Jerry, brother Joe – also a war vet – and sister Dianne gathered late Thursday to mourn, in Springfield reported.

Joe owns Nathan Bill’s Restaurant and Bar in Springfield, which posted the following on its Facebook page:

“Rest In Peace Gunnery SGT. Thomas Sullivan. Anyone who went to Holy Cross School, Cathedral High School or grew up in the East Forest Park knew who Tommy was. He was our hero and he will never be forgotten. Please keep his family & friends in your thoughts & prayers. Thank you Tommy for protecting us.”

And the messages of grief poured in on the Marines Facebook page.

“I am proud to say I served with this Marine. RIP Brother and Semper Fi,” posted Chris Craig.

“God bless Gunny Sullivan’s family and friends. My husband served with him very recently before his separation in January… I met him and he was a great man….Rest in Peace, Gunny…,” wrote Sudan L. Reott.

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