A loving memory: Robert James Cottle

Thomas Beltran

Robert J Cottle, a true light in the Marines and back in the greater Los Angeles area as a member of the LAPD S.W.A.T. team, passed away March 24th at the age of 45, while on his 3rd tour of duty, two previously in Iraq and the last one in Afghanistan. Cottle along with his partner 19 year old Corporal, Rick Centanni, and two more fellow soldiers were taken by surprise by a roadside bomb. Along with being a courageous member of the US Marine Corps and LAPD, Cottle was a proud father of a nine month old daughter.

One person who was close to Cottle, was his own older sister, Spanish teacher, Bonnie Roybal

“She told us about who he really was, even when he was little,” junior Tatiana Leiva said. “Almost everyone cried in the class when she told us about it and what was really sad is that it’s Mrs. Roybal and she is always so happy.”

Her students have recently brought her cards and flowers to show their condolences. Along with her students, Mrs.Roybal’s colleagues consoled her because of her tragic loss.

“The mood of the whole day when we found out was sad,” Spanish teacher and colleague Mrs.Ramirez said.
Cottle was in the military for 27 years and was active in the LAPD since 1990. He first enlisted for duty with the marines in 1983 and was stationed in Germany, Africa, and Hawaii. Cottle was a very dedicated to his work. As a child he was headed down the wrong path in school and out. At the age of 15 he had been in trouble with the law, and it seemed he was never going to get anything in line until his father sent him to a summer Marine camp. He was involved with the military ever since, even working with the Navy S.E.A.L. at one point.

“He was a kid who was not ambitious, had physical deformities with his legs, who was a poor student, he was a special ED student spending two years in a special education classroom. He was headed down the wrong road with no direction what so ever. He didn’t even graduate from high school, but later earned his GED while serving in the Marines. Now, he has 5 banners of him hanging in Downtown Los Angeles for his work in the LAPD and Marines,” Roybal said.

Cottle leaves behind him a 9-month-old child and she will never really get to know him personally, but she will learn about the legacy he leaves behind through the military, LAPD, and of course his family.