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.
"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.
"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.