Casualty of War Brought Home to Utah
Staff Sgt. James Cawley came home Sunday. The body of the first Utahn to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom was met at Salt Lake City International Airport by more than 50 extended family members, some coming from as far away as Tokyo.
The family gathered in the international terminal to privately greet Cawley's body before four Marines and four Salt Lake City police officers draped the casket with an American flag and carried it through the light snow to a waiting hearse at about 9 p.m.
Cawley's wife Miyuki and his two children, Cecil, 8, and Keiko, 6, were followed by a line of grieving relatives. A motorcade brought the body to a Roy mortuary.
Cawley, 41, of Layton, died March 29 after being hit by a coalition Humvee during a firefight outside Nasiriyah, 200 miles southeast of Baghdad. He was a Utah Marine reservist in F Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines and also a Salt Lake City detective in the gang unit and SWAT team.
"He had no hesitation about going to do his duty," said officer Mark Schuman, Cawley's partner. "I feel very privileged to help honor a great man."
Cawley spent 12 years in the Marine Corps before becoming a reservist. He met Miyuki while stationed in Okinawa and spoke fluent Japanese, learned on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Family members recall his affinity for movies, athletic ability, strong sense of humor and keen intellect.
"He especially loved his children, we hope they will be taken care of," said Julie Cawley Hanson, Cawley's sister.
The family says military death benefits are "woefully inadequate." Donations to a Cawley Children Memorial Fund can be made at any America First Credit Union branch.
The funeral will be held Thursday at noon at the LDS Bountiful Regional Center, 835 N. 400 East in North Salt Lake. Cawley will be buried with full police and military honors.