Long Island family mourns solider killed in Afghanistan

August 16, 2012 5:10:36 AM PDT
The family of a Marine from Long Island who was killed in Afghanistan will bring him home Monday.

Lance Corporal Greg Buckley, Jr., just weeks past his 21st birthday, was among six U.S. service members killed in two separate incidents on Friday.

The family traveled to Dover Air Force Base to retrieve his body.

"He went there to serve his government and his country," dad Greg Buckley, Sr., said.

Dozens of friends and family members gathered in Oceanside over the weekend to show their support for the family.

Buckley, Jr., was one of three Marines killed by an Afghan worker at a military base in the Helmand province. Pentagon officials say they were shot while exercising.

Buckley's father says his son had recently expressed concerned for his safety on the base.

"My son said, 'In my heart, dad, I feel like something is going to happen to me. I'm not going to be home in November,'" Buckley, Sr., said.

The devastating attack came just days before Buckley, Jr., was scheduled to come home for a visit.

"He said, 'Dad I'm coming home in 20 days,'" Buckley, Sr., said. "Then he called me, 15 days. He called me the the other day, eight days. He said, 'Dad, I'm going to be home in eight days. I can't wait.'"

Now, his heartbroken father wants his son to be remembered for his courage and commitment to his fellow Marines. He says Greg made an impression on everyone he met, including President Barack Obama, who complemented him on a shot when they played basketball on a base in Hawaii.

"He's a funny kid," Buckley, Sr., said. "He was a beautiful boy, and this world has no idea what they're going to miss."

Three other Marines killed by an afghan in a separate attack on Friday. An Afghan police officer shot and killed the three Marines after sharing a meal with them before dawn in the volatile Sangin district. A U.S. Defense Department official confirmed that the dead Americans were Marine Special Operations Forces.

WAKE UP WITH EYEWITNESS NEWS! Click here to download the WABC Eyewitness News Alarm Clock app from iTunes. or search WABC or 7online in the app store.

Get Eyewitness News Delivered

Facebook | Twitter | Newsletters | Text Alerts