WOODSTOCK, Ga. (AP) — A U.S. Marine killed in attacks on military facilities in Tennessee was remembered at his funeral as a dedicated and courageous serviceman who was determined to excel.
Hundreds of mourners filed in to First Baptist Church of Woodstock on Sunday for the funeral of 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Squire Wells, who was known to friends and fellow Marines as "Skip."
"Skip's life, as short as it was, mattered," Senior Pastor Johnny Hunt said. "His life made a difference."
Wells was one of four military personnel killed July 16 when a man opened fire at two military facilities before being killed by police.
Wells attended Sprayberry High School in Cobb County and Georgia Southern University before enlisting.
On Sunday, friends, relatives and residents of the community began filling the parking lot hours ahead of time, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported (http://on-ajc.com/1SJ0xPr ).
Several motorcycle riders bearing standards stood at attention along the path leading to the front entrance, and a Marine honor guard escorted Wells' flag-draped coffin into the building.
After the congregation stood and sang "How Great Thou Art," a close friend of the fallen Marine shared stories from their childhood in Atlanta's northwest suburbs.
"I tried getting Skip into skateboarding. He was smarter than that," recalled his friend Jarekq Aloisio. After crashing on the sidewalk, Wells ran to his rescue, hauling his bleeding and battered friend up the driveway shouting lines inspired by wartime movies: "Medic! Get me some morphine!"
Marine First Sgt. John Coyne got to know Wells after he enlisted and was quickly impressed by the young man, the Atlanta newspaper reported.
"He cared more about his fellow Marines and the mission than he did about himself," Coyne said.
Before bagpiper Steve Thrasher filled the air with a mournful presentation of "Amazing Grace," Coyne made a promise to Wells' mother, Cathy Wells.
"Mrs. Wells, you will forever be a part of the Marine Corps family," he said. "We will not leave you behind."
Wells was buried at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton.