It was easily the most difficult day of their young lives.
"It's so hard and really sad to say goodbye, but I'd like to think of it as more of a memorial service of his life. His life was incredible," friend Matt Nyberg said.
An incredible journey for Lance Corporal Andrew Patten, cut short in Iraq, defending the country he loved. Nearly five hundred mourners said their final goodbyes to a spiritual young man friends say changed so many lives.
"I'm going to miss just being able to talk to him. I've had some of the most amazing conversations in my life with Andy," friend Mike Bond said.
Speakers say Patten had an unbelievable ability to cut it up, but also cut to the core. And despite being half a world away, his heart was always here at home.
"He was always asking what was going on here, and just always wanting to know how we're doing, and how he was doing and we didn't waste time chit-chatting. We just got down to what mattered," Patten will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, a fitting place for a man who dedicated his life to others, and his country.
"You read books about people who were buried in Arlington, and to know one of your closest friends is going to be buried with the greatest man this country's ever seen, it makes you proud," Nyberg said.
Friends say despite Andrew's life ending on earth, they're confident it's just the beginning of something far better.
The service for Lance Corporal Andrew Patten at Arlington National Cemetery will be held this Wednesday. Patten will be given full military honors for his service as a marine.