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Staff Sergeant James Wilford Cawley

29 March 2003
Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Regiment

image: Ssgt. James W. Cawley with family

James W. Cawley family

image: Ssgt. James W. Cawley

SSgt James W. Cawley


Today, it is with overwhelming and profound sadness that we release the news of the death of our husband, father, son, brother and uncle. There is a huge hole in our hearts because of his passing. 

Staff Sergeant James Wilford Cawley, was killed in Iraq on Saturday, March 29, 2003, defending the freedom that he so cherished. Jim was a loyal American and believed strongly in the cause for which he fought. He was serving as Platoon Sergeant of the 1st Platoon, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marine Division. 

Above all, and most importantly, Jim was a good father and a wonderful husband. He always cared first for his wife and children and not for himself. He always cared about people. 

He was a very righteous man and wanted to protect his country. He had a very strong sense of right and wrong. He wanted to protect people from “the bad guys” and make the world a safer place. 

This was evident in his chosen careers. He served for 12 years in the Marines, traveling all over the world. He met his beautiful wife in Okinawa, Japan while serving there. After leaving active duty with the Marines, he attended the Salt Lake Police Academy in 1997 and graduated with top honors, receiving the Top Gun Award for the top marksman in his graduating class and the Blue Shirt Award. This award is presented to the top recruit of each graduating class and he achieved the top scores in academics, firearms, physical fitness and communications. 

Jim then began full time employment with the Salt Lake Police Department and served honorably as a Detective and member of the SWAT team. He loved his work and his fellow officers with Salt Lake PD. 

When disaster hit our country on September 11, 2001, James knew he would be called back to active duty with his Marine reserve unit to serve in the War on Terrorism. He wrote to his children “…when America was attacked I knew that I would eventually have to go and I was filled with a deep sense of sadness.” He told his brother and sisters that the evening of 9/11 his grief at the atrocity that was leveled at our country could only be comforted by going to his children’s room in the early hours of the morning and holding them tight until he was brought some peace. 

Before he was deployed, he left a letter for his son telling him he knew it would be hard for him “…because I had a similar experience. When I was a little boy aged 6, my dad, your Grandpa Cawley was sent to Vietnam during the War there. I remember how much I missed him. But being a child, I didn’t realize how hard it must have been on him, too. But unfortunately I have come to realize just how rough it must have been for Grandpa to be away from his children for a year.” He loved his work with both the United State Marine Corp and the Salt Lake Police Department. Every day he went to work to maintain the freedoms that we all enjoy. 

James also had a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He loved his religion and served an honorable mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Fukuoka, Japan mission. He knew that this life was not the end and that we will all be together again in a far greater place. 

James will be sorely missed by his wife, Miyuki. He was so proud of her and truly adored her. His children, Cecil and Keiko will miss their daddy, their hero and the love he gave them. They will miss their daddy’s bedtime stories as he told them stories every night as they went to bed. He loved his wife and children so much and often said that they were the light of his life. His father, retired SMSgt Cecil Cawley, a WWII, Korea and Vietnam veteran will miss the son that wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. His brother and five sisters will miss his keen sense of humor, his ability to quote from every movie he saw and the way he entertained us all at family parties. His 20 nieces and nephews will miss the love that “Uncle Jim” showered on every one of them, the wrestling on the floor and the uncle in uniform that they all admired and loved. 

We wish the world could have known him as we did. He was tough and kind, funny and smart, well read and a keen intellect. He was one of America’s finest and brightest. He could have been anything but he chose to be a soldier and an officer because of his strong beliefs. He didn’t back down to be “politically correct”. He was a leader and a professional and excelled in everything he set his mind to. 

We have lost a great patriot, a model citizen, a good moral man and fine human being. He was very disheartened before he left to see the anti-war protestors. He would tell us today to love our country, get involved and support President Bush. 

SSgt James W. Cawley has paid the ultimate sacrifice. He lived life honorably and died valiantly. He strongly believed that the citizens of Iraq needed to be liberated and that the current regime was a threat to our freedom. 

We as a family challenge all who love this country and freedom to support our troops. Please fly the flag every day until our troops come home. Our family prays for those soldiers fighting for this just cause. We pray for their families and those that wait at home. We especially lift our voices to our Heavenly Father for those POW’s and pray that they will be treated fairly and returned to their loved ones. And last of all we pray fervently for those who, like us, grieve for their fallen that will never return home. 

The words of a song from the play Threads of Glory

Freedom has a price, and always it is high. 
Sometimes a man must give all he can, sometimes a man must die 
And give away all his tomorrows, to those of a future day 
Who’ll never understand the sorrow and the price that someone had to pay. 

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  –John 15:13 

SSgt. James W. Cawley is survived by his wife Miyuki Cawley, his son Cecil T. Cawley age 8 and his daughter Keiko Cawley age 6, all of Layton, Utah. He is also survived by his father Cecil M. Cawley of Roy, Utah, and his parents-in-law Takemitsu and Aiko Miyagi of Okinawa, Japan, his brother and sisters: Debbie (Richard) Seamons of Allyn, Washington; Julie (Randy) Hanson of Roy, Utah; Michael (Sandy) Cawley of Roy, Utah; Susan (Michael) Norton of Mesquite, Texas; Lori (Roth) Antonich of Pleasant View, Utah; and Kimberly (Corey) Coons of Roy, Utah. Also survived by 20 nieces and nephews and 3 great-nieces and nephews and beloved aunts and uncles in the United States and Great Britain. He was preceded in death by his mother Mary Harling Cawley, who loved him dearly.



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