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War Hits Home: Utah Soldier Killed Serving in Iraq

War Hits Home: Utah Soldier Killed Serving in Iraq

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The family of police Detective James W. Cawley, his Marine colleagues and the city police department paid respects Monday to the man who became Utah's first casualty in the war in Iraq.

Cawley, 41, a 2nd Battalion 23rd Regiment Marine reservist, was killed March 29 when he was accidentally struck by a Humvee. Both Cawley and the vehicle were headed into a firefight in Iraq, a Marine spokesman said.

Cawley's wife, Mikuki, "is most concerned for her children and how they will be affected without their daddy's guidance and love," said Cawley's sister, Julie Cawley Hanson, who spoke on behalf of the soldier's wife.

War Hits Home: Utah Soldier Killed Serving in Iraq

Cawley served the Marines for 12 years, traveling around the world. He met his wife in Okinaway, Japan. They have two children, 8-year-old Cecil and 6-year-old Keiko.

Hanson said even as a young boy her brother exhibited the markings of a leader. She recalled that as a boy he wanted his cereal to always be prepared in a speckled plastic cup and stirred with a fork.

His childhood nickname was Jamie. It was dropped "for the man he had become" serving a proselytizing mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then the Marines.

"We support our troops and pray for their safety," Hanson said. "Especially for President Bush, we love him and support him. We want the driver of the Humvee to know that we know that he was just doing his job. We pray for him and his safety."

Nearly a dozen police officers, who covered their badges with black bands, flanked the podium where members of Cawley's family, a Marine spokesman and a fellow police officer spoke of the man they called a hero, loving father and friend.

After leaving active duty, Cawley attended the Salt Lake Police Academy in 1997 and graduated with top honors. He became a detective on the gang unit and a member of the SWAT team.

Police Chief Rick Dinse called Cawley's death a loss to the city and said he was "one of the best."

"He was a patriot, a dedicated police officer who cared about his community ... today we define the word hero with the name Jim Cawley," Dinse said.

Marine spokesman Capt. Jason Dougherty said there were little details about Cawley's death.

"Unfortunately in times of war we often don't get the details until the war is over," Dougherty said. "He was a hero ... He was a warrior. He was an outstanding Marine, a natural leader."

Mark Schuman, one of Cawley's fellow SWAT team officers, described Cawley as a loving family man.

"I don't really have the words to describe the admiration we have for him," Schuman said.

Cawley was first activated by the Marine Reserves just before the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Stationed in Camp Pendleton in California, he drove home on weekends to be with his family, Hanson said. She said he was deployed to Iraq in late February.

The family has not received word on when Cawley's body will arrive in Utah but is planning services with full military and police honors.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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