Friends, Byron Community Mourns the Loss of 19-Year-Old Marine

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"He was my best friend. We were really close," Matt Nyberg said.

Fighting tears, Matt Nyberg couldn't say enough about his close friend, the late Lance Corporal Andrew Patten.

"He was just a joy to be around. He was one of those guys that you were around him you didn't have to plan anything. Fun just happened," Nyberg said.

Their friendship took off in high school, and continued after Patten was deployed to Iraq on the 4th of July. Nyberg says above all, his friend believed in his duties as a Marine, a duty, tragically, he gave his life for.

"He told ‘em that he was going over on a mission. He wasn't coming back until he was done, and it's knowing that that makes me so proud of him," Nyberg said.

That pride is also sky high at Byron High School where Patten graduated in 2004. His former wrestling coach described Andrew as a hard worker, respectful but always full of smiles.

"We're mourning the loss of Andy, but we're also proud of the service he gave his country and the type of person he is. We will remember him as a hero," Robert Baker said.

But heroes are still grieved by many, especially by Nyberg, who with his buddy, shared a love of music and church.

"Both of us knew behind a shadow of a doubt that because of his faith in Christ that there was no doubt where he'd be if he didn't make it back. It was scary, but we weren't really afraid," Nyberg said.

He was a young man who had a passion for his friends, his community and his nation.