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Marine Lance Cpl. Rick J. Centanni

Died March 24, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

19, of Yorba Linda, Calif.; assigned to the 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 4thMarine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died March 24 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Also killed was Sgt. Maj. Robert J. Cottle.

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Marine ‘loved being part of a team’

The Associated Press

When Rick J. Centanni was in high school, he had a sticker on his football helmet that was placed there to remember a former player who had died in Iraq.

Army Pfc. Joel Brattain was killed in 2004, and Centanni and other members of Esperanza High’s Aztecs football team wore the stickers the season after he died. They did it to honor him.

Six years later, Centanni’s death was announced over the intercom at the Anaheim, Calif., high school, where he graduated in 2008.

“With the volunteer military, I don’t think the war has the same effect on young people today — until something like this happens,” said Jim Pendleton, an English teacher and assistant football coach for the Aztecs.

Centanni, 19, of Yorba Linda, Calif., and another Marine were killed by a roadside bomb March 24 in Helmand province. He was assigned to Camp Pendleton.

“It didn’t surprise me when he went into the military because it was the ultimate expression of teamwork and camaraderie,” his coach told the Los Angeles Times.

Pendleton said he could see from the start that Centanni had “great enthusiasm” for “being part of a team.”

“He loved every part of it,” Pendleton said.

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