Blast Kills Two Pendleton Marines

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCSanDiego

    U.S. Marines Sgt. Major Robert Cottle, 45, and Lance Corporal Rick Centanni, 19, had a lot in common despite their age difference. The two were team members in a reserve tank unit based at Camp Pendleton. They also called Yorba Linda home.

    The two friends were also together when a roadside bomb exploded Thursday in southern Afghanistan.  Both men were killed.

    Blast Kills Two Pendleton Marines

    [DGO] Blast Kills Two Pendleton Marines
    45-year-old Marine Sgt Major Robert Cottle and 19-year-old Lance Corporal Rick Centanni both grew up in Orange County. They were members of Camp Pendleton's reserve tank unit, killed Wednesday in the southern part of Afghanistan.

    "Robert was really a sweetheart and he was just a nice man,"said Joan Cottle who knew Robert well. Joan was married to his father Kenneth for nearly ten years.  "I know his father loved him so much and with his sister, I'm sure they were very close too," she said.

    Robert Cottle joined the Marines straight out of high school.  In 1990, he became a member of the Los Angeles Police Department, eventually becoming an assistant team member with the LAPD Swat Team.

    "He loved being on the police force and he loved being in the Marine Corps," Joan Cottle said.

    Centanni joined the Marine Corps even before graduating high school in 2008 and like Cottle, Centanni also had ties to law enforcement. His father is a sergeant in charge of investigations for the Santa Ana Police Department's gang unit.

    They are two men, who leave two families in mourning.  "It's just sad, it's just terrible,"Joan Cottle said.

    Robert Cottle leaves behind a wife and nine-month old daughter.  He was set to return home from his tour of duty in May.

    The bodies of both Marines will be flown back to Orange County for burial.