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Fellow Police, Marines Mourn the Utah Reservist Killed in Iraq
Salt Lake City law enforcement officials on Monday joined with family members of Sgt. James Wilford Cawley to remember and honor him as a dedicated police officer and a patriot who gave his life for his country.
Cawley, 41, a Marine reservist, was the first Utahn to be killed in Iraq. The Salt Lake police officer died at 4 a.m., Iraqi time, Saturday while serving with the U.S. Marine 23rd Division, military officials said.
Surrounded by members of the Salt Lake City police SWAT team, of which the officer was a member, U.S. Marine representatives and Cawley's family, Police Chief Rick Dinse said Utah, Salt Lake City and the Police Department lost a special person.
"[Sgt. Cawley] was one of our best. He was a patriot, a dedicated police officer who cared about his community and he cared about his country," said Dinse. "He represented the best in all of us. He has given his life for his country and spent [part of his life] protecting the citizens of Salt Lake City."
Dinse said Monday's press conference was meant to honor Cawley on behalf of the Salt Lake City Police Department and to "express our deepest sympathy to his family and to thank them for sharing him with us."
Marine Capt. Jason Doughtery called Cawley "a warrior, an outstanding Marine and a natural leader who loved and cared about his men."
Doughtery said Cawley died after he was struck by a coalition forces Humvee that was on its way to combat.
"Cawley was not involved in that firefight," he said.
Cawley was among U.S. combatants outside the city of Nasiriyah on the banks of the Euphrates River about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad when he was killed. Marines were trying to secure Nasiriyah, from which Iraqi forces have been launching guerrilla and mortar attacks against convoys supplying the Army's 1st Infantry Division, which was close to Bagdad, said a Marine official in Kuwait.
Marine Capt. Dan McSweeney said he did not know Cawley personally but called his death "a very tragic situation" that underscores the danger of the conflict.
"Most Marines understand there is a price to be paid for their service," McSweeney said. "It's in the spirit of devotion that they join up. The Marine Corps prides itself in being composed of people willing to make that sacrifice."
Fellow Salt Lake City Police SWAT team member Mark Schuman said Cawley was a family man and someone "who never shied away from danger. There are no words to describe the admiration we have for him. He's a hero."
Cawley, who spoke fluent Japanese that he learned while serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife, Miyuki, have two children, an 8-year-old son, Cecil, and 6-year-old daughter, Keiko. The family lives in Layton.
Funeral arrangements were pending Monday, but the family said Cawley would be buried with full military and police honors.
The family supports President Bush and the war against Saddam Hussein, said Cawley's sister, Julie Cawley Hanson. She urged Utahns to support coalition troops and "fly the U.S. flag every day" until they come home.
America West Credit Union has established an account for James Cawley's family. Anyone wishing to donate to the family can do so at any of its offices.