Marine 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey, 24, of Reno, Nevada.
2nd Lt. Cathey died of injuries caused by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations near Al Karmah, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
More than 200 people, including Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., and state Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Nev., honored Marine Corps 2nd Lt. James Cathey, 24, during an emotional funeral Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral in Reno.
The Reno native was killed by an explosive device Aug. 21 after only one month in Iraq. His unit was operating and training with Iraqi security forces near Al Karmah and Fallujah.
“James was a young man who was living his dream, serving as a Marine,” the Rev. Tom Czack said. “He was a kind, giving man who was serving his country.
“For those who are peacemakers, they’ll be the children of God. In this time of trial let us stand in faith,” Czack added.
The service began with a procession of Marines who carried the casket to the front of the altar, with family members trailing behind.
In a brief address, his mother, Carolyn Cathey, described the lieutenant as a “humble, selfless romantic.”
“He had a smile that would light up a room. He had those blue eyes that could talk without saying a word,” she said. “His life was short, but he accomplished a lot. Maybe we should all strive to be a little like James.”
His wife, Katherine Cathey, found out that her child, due in five months, would be the boy that her husband knew it would be.
James Cathey was a graduate of Reno High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Marine 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey was killed in action on 08/21/05.
Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News
When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac. During the arrival of another Marine's casket last year at Denver International Airport, Major Steve Beck described the scene as one of the most powerful in the process: "See the people in the windows? They'll sit right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him home," he said. "They're going to remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They're going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should."
Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News
The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she said. "I think that's what he would have wanted."
"In two pictures of 24 year old 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey's final trip home...Todd Heisler, Rocky Mountain News photographer, captured the solemnity, brotherly respect as well as the sorrow over the death of one of America's youthful fallen Marine Heroes. In Heisler's heartbreakingly sweet image of a pregnant Katherine Cathey "sleeping for one last time" beside her husband's coffin, ... while playing the couple's favorite tunes on her CD, .... he brought forth for all time, a searing picture of the awful pain of loss."
Fay Jordaens...A Soldiers' Angel.