Many who attended the service -- servicemen and civilians alike -- wiped away tears as Trisha Lawton, the Marine's widow, stepped to the lectern and read from a note she hoped she'd never have to write.
"I'll always be proud to be the wife of a United States Marine," she said, her voice breaking. "He was the type of man who always gave me everything I needed. He was my soul mate."
Trisha and Garrett Lawton were married for eight years. They have two sons, Ryan, 6, and Caden, 4.
Those who knew Lawton held him in the highest esteem, said his sister, Kenna Hubai.
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"He was the best human being I've ever known," she said. "It seems like everyone always has wonderful things to say about people when they die, even if they're not all true. But it is true for Garrett. He was a wonderful man, father, husband, son, brother and Marine."
Those who eulogized Lawton spoke of his compassion, his dedication to his friends and family and his sense of humor. A college friend remembered frequent hallway fire-extinguisher battles. He also recalled the time Lawton asked for a punch in the face to ensure he was tough enough for the Corps.
Lawton graduated from the University of West Virginia in 1999 with degrees in aerospace and mechanical engineering.
He served as an F-18 weapons and sensors officer and as an air officer with 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Lawton was born in Beaufort, but his family moved when he was 4. He returned to the Lowcountry in 2003, when he was assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort with the Bengals of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 244. He saw one combat deployment to Al Asad, Iraq, from MCAS Beaufort, and was promoted to captain while in Beaufort, according to the air station.
Lawton joined the Special Operations Battalion in February 2007, the Corps said.
Lawton was awarded two Purple Hearts -- the first for injuries sustained in an IED attack in May, and the second for the attack that resulted in his death.
Lawton's body will be cremated and his ashes spread at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.