Hundreds of people attended two days of wakes at an Oceanside funeral home to pay their respects to the 21-year old.
"I think it's a tragedy," said Nina Rosato, a family friend.
It's a heart-breaking reality for his father.
"I know a lot of the people here feel for me and my family, and my two boys, they're broken hearted so bad," Gregory Buckley, Sr., said. "My boys, and their mom. It's devastating to her. It's her baby. No mother should lose their child like that."
Buckley, Jr., was killed last Friday on a U.S. base, gunned down when an Afghan police officer opened fire in a gymnasium with an AK-47.
He was just days away from coming home for a visit.
"I had to go and watch my child taken out of a plane in a box, and it's heartbreaking," Buckley, Sr,. said.
A father's heartache was comforted by the support of friends and family. They filled the funeral home for the wake, surrounded by photographs and videos of the young Marine before he signed up to serve his country.
"Obviously he paid the ultimate sacrifice," Rep. Peter King said. "The country is always going to be indebted to him."
Greg Buckley Sr. says his son feared he wouldn't come home alive.
"He said please don't tell mom or my brothers, but I don't think I'm ever going to make it home," he said.
They are words that will never leave a father who is still in shock and disillusioned with the war in Afghanistan.
"These young men are dying every day over there, the people don't like us," Buckley, Sr., said. "You ripped apart a community, my family. We were so tight, so close."
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