Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) delivered a speech on the Senate floor in honor of the service and sacrifice of Russellville, Arkansas native Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, a U.S. Marine who was shot and killed when a gunman attacked a military facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Staff Sgt. Wyatt will be laid to rest at the Chattanooga National Cemetery today.
The following are Boozman’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
The dangers our troops face extend beyond war zones unfortunately to within our nation’s borders, and its time our policies reflect their risks no matter where they are stationed.
Just like the attack at a Little Rock Army recruiting station and the tragedy at Fort Hood, the recent senseless shootings in Chattanooga happened when our troops were unarmed, leaving them with no way to defend themselves.
I fully support the actions of Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to do what is necessary to protect the Arkansas National Guard by allowing members to be armed at guard installations.
However he only has authority over the Arkansas National Guard, while governors of other states have issued similar directives, I urge the Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and President Obama to order protective measures at Department of Defense installations.
The vicious attack in Chattanooga changed the lives of the families of Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Squire Wells, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt and Petty Office 2nd Class Randall Smith.
The attack hit especially close to home for Arkansas, where Staff Sgt. David Wyatt grew up.
While he no longer called Arkansas home, the state always had a fond place in Staff Sgt. David Wyatt’s heart.
He often visited his family who still live in the Natural State and taught his children how to call the Hogs.
As a 1998 graduate of Russellville High School, Staff Sgt. Wyatt was active in athletics and played in the school band.
He also earned the Eagle Scout, the highest rank of the Boy Scouts.
His scoutmasters, classmates and teachers fondly recalled David as a young man who was a natural leader with a lot of enthusiasm and a unique sense of humor.
A career in the military was a natural fit for Staff Sgt. Wyatt who came from a long line of military service.
He enlisted in the Marines following the events of 9/11.
During his 11 years in the military, Staff Sgt. Wyatt served in locations all over the world.
He was well aware of the dangers of wearing our nation’s uniform having served deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
His mom, Deborah Wyatt Boen told the Russellville Courier that her son was proud to be a Marine and called his fellow Marines ‘brothers.’
No one could predict the violence that targeted his life while working to protect and defend our nation with his band of brothers.
But with the nature of the current threats we face, and with increased calls from groups like ISIS to attack U.S. service members at home, it is vital that we reevaluate our security practices for all our military installations and fix any vulnerabilities that put our personnel at risk.
On Thursday, July 16, 2015, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt paid the ultimate sacrifice for his selfless service to our nation.
Mr. President, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt is a true American hero.
I ask my colleagues to keep his wife Lorri, daughter Rebecca, son Heith and the rest of his family and friends in their thoughts and prayers.
On behalf of a grateful nation, I humbly offer my appreciation and gratitude for his selfless service and sacrifice.