Those who knew Lance Cpl. Christopher Boyd, 23, said he was a natural-born leader who always dreamed of a military career. He died earlier this week while on foot patrol, the second Marine from suburban Chicago to die in Afghanistan this week.
Former teammates of the married father of twin boys gathered at a scrimmage at Palatine High School on Friday night. They said they needed to gather together on the football same field where they spent so many hours bonding and playing a game they loved.
Nearby, an American flag flew at half-staff in Boyd's honor.
"He was a tough, hardnosed kid," said football coach Tyler Donnelly. "He really did everything to help the team. I mean, he played through injuries. It got so bad where [you'd] pull his pads away and he would still take them away from the trainers because he wanted to practice more. I mean, this kid was an embodiment of self-sacrifice and it's no surprise that he went in and served our country so well."
Boyd's parents, who live in Palatine, were headed to Dover to claim their son's body. They were informed about the death by two Marines at their home Thursday.
On Wednesday, another U.S. Marine, Lance Cpl. Kevin Oratowski, from Wheaton, was killed by an improvised explosive device.