KIA March 24, 2010
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, Camp Pendleton, California
Marine LCpl Rick J. Centanni was killed while supporting combat operations in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan when the Light Armored Vehicle he was traveling in was struck by a roadside bomb. Also killed was SgtMaj Robert J. Cottle, his hometown friend, and mentor.
While growing up, LCpl Centanni loved working with a team, spending time working towards baseball and football championships. As a junior and senior in high school, he played as a line-backer on the football team and made a lasting impression on his coach. “He was a great teammate and it’s no surprise at all to me that he chose to join the one other thing with as much camaraderie – the U.S. military,” Centanni’s football coach, Bill Pendleton, said.
He always had an outgoing demeanor, funny personality, and friendly attitude. One high school friend, Andrew, remembered him by saying, “I’ll never forget Rick’s heart. He always wanted everyone to be happy. He continued this by giving his life so we can continue to be happy and have these discussions.”
His ultimate goal was to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a police officer. With this goal in mind, he chose to enlist in the Marine Reserves only 2 weeks after graduating high school, with the hope of graduating from college quickly and starting the application process as soon as possible. As an incredibly motivated individual, he was determined to accomplish his goals while protecting his country through his service.
“He loved what he was doing, and loved the guys he was with over there. He was a great kid, a great son. It’s a terrible loss, and he will be missed,” Jon Centanni, LCpl Centanni’s father, said of his only son.
Cpl Rick J. Centanni was 19 years old from Yorba Linda, CA
Original portrait was presented April 3, 2016 to his family at the 4th Annual Centanni-Cottle Memorial 5K run/walk in Yorba Linda, California.
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