Now it's time for the second friend to come home.
A hero's welcome is planned Monday for Marine Sgt. Major Robert Cottle, when his remains will be returned to his family at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base.
Cottle of Yorba Linda was killed in Afghanistan on March 24 by an improvised explosive device that also took the life of his friend, Yorba Linda Marine Lance Cpl. Rick Centanni.
Hundreds of police officers and community supporters stood at attention when Centanni's body returned Friday, American flags flapping in the breeze as a quiet crowd on the tarmac watched Marines carefully unload his casket.
Cottle, 45, and Centanni, 19, became close after their deployment, with the older Marine taking the younger one under his wing.
The plane bearing Cottle's casket is scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m., and the public will be allowed to show its respects.
People interested in attending should arrive at the base's main gate, at 11200 Lexington Drive, between 9:30 and 9:45 a.m. Valid photo identification is needed to get on base. A security guard will direct attendees to parking.
Cottle grew up in Whittier, and for years had called Yorba Linda home.
Cottle was a 27-year veteran Marine and high-ranking SWAT officer for the Los Angeles Police Department. He was married to a naval officer and had a 9-month-old daughter.
An event to raise funds for a scholarship in Centanni's name, and a fund in Cottle's name that will assist returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, is being held at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Laugh Factory in Long Beach. Tickets can be purchased at cops4causes.org.