Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Chattanooga this weekend to honor the five servicemen killed on July 16.
Biden will join Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke at the Saturday memorial event at McKenzie Arena.
* When: 2 p.m. Saturday
* Where: McKenzie Arena, 720 E. 4th St.
* More info: Only first 8,500 will be seated.
"I am honored to join Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus for a special military memorial to show our gratitude for the four Marines and sailor who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty on July 16, 2015," Berke said in a statement through his office. "This is an incredible opportunity to stand together to support our military and show the world we are 'Chattanooga Strong.'"
The event will honor the four Marines killed — Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Squire K. "Skip" Wells, Sgt. Carson Holmquist and Staff Sgt. David Wyatt — and U.S. Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith.
The memorial starts at 2 p.m. Saturday at the arena, at 720 E. Fourth St. The service comes one day before the one-month anniversary of the shooting that killed the men.
"It means a lot that he's taken the time to come down," Capt. Andrew Chrestman, Marine Forces Reserve spokesman, said of Biden's visit.
Chrestman said the exact format of the memorial service is still being worked out, but he expects it will last between one hour and 90 minutes.
The Marine Corps band will play and the Navy Corps choir will sing, he said. Someone from the Marines, Navy and city of Chattanooga will speak, Chrestman said, but as to which of the politicians from Washington will speak, that likely will be known Thursday.
Seating is limited to 8,500 people on a first-come, first-served basis, so Berke is encouraging people to arrive early. However, it's not known yet when the doors will open to the public, a representative from the McKenzie Arena said.
To receive updates on the memorial service, text STRONG to 83224.
Contact staff writer Evan Hoopfer at firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/EvanHoopfer or 423-757-6731.