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NoogaStrong July 16, 2015, The Fallen Five Chattanooga
July 16, 2021 at 2:30 PM
July 16, 2015

Looking at the community response in Chattanooga, we begin to understand what all the #noogastrong stickers really mean. What we must never forget is that men have died and continue to do so to protect the freedoms that all American’s enjoy. We must preserve our history, as it serves to refresh our memory daily of these facts.

Never Forget

May we never forget freedom isn’t free. The five gentlemen listed below died, ensuring that our nation will remain free for all generations to come. In defending our country, they accepted death so that others could live.

Carson A. Holmquist | United States Marine Sergeant

Born October 6, 1989, in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin - He died defending his love of country on July 16, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

David A. Wyatt | United States Marine Staff Sergeant

Born November 7, 1979, In Hixon, Tennessee - Died ensuring the United States will remain the land of the free on July 16, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Randall S. Smith | United States Navy Logistics Specialist Second Class

Born April 16, 1989, in Paulding, Ohio - He died protecting the home of the brave on July 18, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Squire K. ”Skip” Wells | United States Marine Lance Corporal

Born April 29, 1994, in Murrietta, Georgia - Died shielding the freedom of America on July 16, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Thomas J. Sullivan | United States Marine Gunnery Sergeant

Born March 22, 1975, in Springfield, Massachusetts - He died to win freedom for his fellow Marines on July 16, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

July 16, 2015

Americans have long enjoyed such privileges that we commonly take for granted. The freedom to travel, vote, and participate in the governing of our country are but a few. The events of July 16, 2015, removed all doubts and made immortal five men who were willing to die to ensure that all Americans remained free.

Carson, David, Randall, Skip, and Thomas were called to protect our freedom. They answered and gave their lives so that their fellow service members and citizens could live. During the shooting in Chattanooga, men came together for a shared purpose and created a movement that remains to this day.


The community in Chattanooga has resolved all doubts that we will remain dedicated to each other and the betterment of all people who reside here. Pride of community, respect for our military, love for one another, acceptance of differences, freedom of beliefs, cultural diversity, and the ability to trust one another are what make us #noogastrong. Sometimes those that enjoy it forget, in time, that our freedom is not free.

Each year, several local events dedicated to the Fallen Five are attended by thousands of people from all over the state and more than a few memorial sites that give thanks to those who gave everything to ensure our nation will remain free.

Demonte Cheeley | United States Marine Sergeant | Recruiter

Shot at the Chattanooga recruiting office during the July 16, 2015 attack and was awarded the Purple Heart medal due to his injuries. Demonte returned to work at the recruiting station two days after being shot.

Dennis Pedigo, Jr. | Chattanooga Police Department Master Patrol Officer

Shot while running towards the gunfire at the Navy Operational Support Center on July 16, 2015. After multiple surgeries, Officer Pedigo returned to serve the community on May 2nd, 2016.

Joshua Kapellusch | United States Air Force

Taking the country’s pride passed down from his grandfather, Joshua served our country in wartime, and for that, we owe him an outstanding debt of gratitude. After returning home, he didn’t stop there; after returning home, Joshua has organized the Fallen 5 Drive each year since the shootings. He organizes events to recognize fallen soldiers and help the homeless veterans community in Chattanooga.

Joshua created and, in 2016, 2017, and 2018, drove a flag from the site of the recruiting center to San Francisco, California, where he flew that flag from the middle of the Golden Gate bridge ensuring that the nation will not forget the Chattanooga Fallen Five.

Nick Neeley | Tennessee

With a sense of pride in our community, Nick has organized the American Flag Rally Fallen 5, which ended this year at the military recruitment center off Lee Highway, where Marine Seargeant Cheeley suffered injuries.

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