The tragedy of July 16 has left us feeling a terrible loss of our shipmates — a sailor and four Marines. These were members of our Navy family; and they were also part of your extended family. I know our heartfelt condolences to their loved ones are shared with the Chattanooga community who join us to mourn this tragedy. From Mayor Andy Berke and Chief of Police Fred Fletcher to the first responders and those citizens who have supported us on that day and in the days that followed, our Navy and I thank you.
Our sailors and Marines serving across the world come from communities like Chattanooga. It is the community that instills strength of service and commitment to our nation. It begins with the courage of first responders, like the Chattanooga Police, and fire and rescue personnel who risk their lives each day and acted valiantly when the call came. The professionalism and outpouring of support continued beyond the initial response, from FBI investigators who kept us informed of developments, to the Tennessee Air National Guard who opened their doors, providing a workplace for our Navy and Marine Corps team.
While joining Chattanooga for the Armed Forces Day parade in May, I was honored to meet the good people of this tremendous community and witness the unwavering support they lend to our military. And on that fateful day in July, support came not just from those in the public eye, but also those in the community who went out of their way to help the victims and families with prayers, counsel, meals and posting patriotic flags. The genuine caring within your community serves as an inspiration to our sailors and Marines.
As the Chief of Naval Operations, I have the pleasure of traveling across the nation, meeting with local government, community and industry leaders. I am continually impressed by the stalwart support we receive from people in communities like Chattanooga.
We will always remember our fallen, and we will be forever grateful to the citizens of Chattanooga who stood with our shipmates and their families. We are humbled by your faith and inspired by your strength. Your Navy is proud to stand with you in this hour. On behalf of the entire Navy family, I thank you and salute you.
Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations