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Marine Cpl. Christian S. Cotner

Died May 30, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of Waterbury, Conn.; assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan; died May 30 from a non-hostile incident in Asad, Iraq.

Marine from Waterbury dies in Iraq

The Associated Press

WATERBURY, Conn. — A 21-year-old Marine from Waterbury has died during his first tour in Iraq, according to his family’s pastor.

The military notified Cpl. Christian Cotner’s family on Friday about his death. Details about how and when he died had not been released Saturday, and the military had not publicly announced his death.

He is the 40th military member with ties to Connecticut who has died in Iraq and Afghanistan since U.S. operations began in those countries in 2003 and 2002, respectively. Two civilians from the state have also died.

The Cotner family’s pastor, the Rev. Kenneth Frazier Jr. of the First Congregational Church of Waterbury, said Saturday that the family was too grief-stricken to make public statements, but planned to do so soon.

“They would like for the public to respect their grieving process and they will make themselves available at some point when they are ready and able,” Frazier said.

Cotner graduated from Wilby High School.

The school’s principal, Robyn Apicella, said Cotner enjoyed volunteering for community events, including serving in honor guards.

“He was very conscientious and really loved being in ROTC,” Apicella told the Republican-American of Waterbury. “And he couldn’t wait to go into the military.”

Jeremy Rubock, who heads the technical education department at the high school, said Cotner was an easygoing student who was well-liked and enthusiastic about learning.

Funeral services were pending.

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