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Wisconsin town says goodbye to Marine slain in Tennessee

GRANTSBURG, Wis. (AP) — A small Wisconsin town said goodbye on Saturday to a Marine killed in the recent attack on a Navy-Marine reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

A dozen members of a Marine Corps honor guard stood watch as fellow Marines in dress blue uniforms carried the coffin of Sgt. Carson Holmquist into Grantsburg Senior High School for a public visitation Saturday.

The 25-year-old Holmquist grew up in the northwestern Wisconsin town of 1,300. He graduated in 2008 from Grantsburg High School, where the U.S. flag was flying at half-staff.

“We’re here for the families. That’s our priority now. We grieve with them, and they will not be forgotten,” Marine Forces Reserve spokesman Capt. Andrew Chrestman told reporters.

Chrestman said he had spoken with Holmquist’s father, Tom Holmquist of Grantsburg, who is “obviously grieving and going through difficult times.”

“When we lose a Marine, we lose a member of our family. We really do. While our level of grief is not near his level of grief, we’re still grieving with him,” Chrestman said.

Sgt. Holmquist joined the Marines in 2009 and served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. Survivors include his wife, Jasmine, and their 2-year-old son, Wyatt.

After the funeral, over 60 people in Marine, Navy and other military uniforms saluted as an honor guard of Marine pallbearers brought Holmquist’s flag-draped coffin out to a waiting hearse. Escorted by a state trooper and six motorcyclists with the Patriot Guard Riders, the funeral procession left for a local cemetery and a private burial with military honors.

Holmquist was among four Marines and a sailor who were killed in the July 16 attack. Police later killed the attacker during a shootout.

Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential campaign spokeswoman said the Republican candidate cancelled his political events Saturday in North Carolina and New Hampshire to return to Wisconsin to “honor” Holmquist. He ordered that flags be flown at half-staff until sunset.

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