Thursday, June 28, 2012

Defense Department Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced Tuesday the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Niall W. Cotisears, 23, of Arlington, Va., died June 23 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

This was Cotisears' first deployment to Afghanistan since he enlisted in 2008. His military awards and decorations include the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

According to his mother, Cotisears was a talented musician. He attended Woodrow Wilson High School and studied music composition for a year at a college in England. He played guitar and classical piano, an instrument he excelled at, family members said.

He came home and joined the Marines in November, 2008.

"And he could have chosen anything," his mother said. "But he wanted to be infantry. He wanted to be in Afghanistan. He wanted to be out there ... in the most dangerous situations. And he really believed in that cause."

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