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First Name: James

Last Name: Cathey

Birthplace: USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Reno, NV
Middle Name: Jeffrey

Date of Birth: 08 October 1980

Date of Death: 21 August 2005

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Years Served:
James Jeffrey Cathey

•  Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) (2003 - 2011)


James Jeffrey Cathey was the son of Jeffrey and Caroline Cathey. He attended Reno High School in Reno, NV. In February 1998, while he was a 17-year old senior, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He finished his classes at Reno High School two months early so that he could go to boot camp. James was unable to attend graduation ceremonies with his classmates because he was in basic training. His mother, Caroline, said he had wanted to be a Marine since he was in the fourth grade.

James then continued his education at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO, earning two degrees; History and Anthropology. While at the University, he met his wife, Katherine, of Brighton, CO.

In 2002, James received his commission as a Marine Second Lieutenant and was then deployed to East Timor, and twice to Okinawa. In July 2005, while assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, NC, 2ndLt. Cathey and his unit was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On 21 August 2005, a month after arriving in Iraq, 2ndLt. Cathey and a corporal had gone ahead of the platoon on a scouting mission near Al Karmah, Iraq. An improvised explosive device (IED) along the road exploded and 2ndLt. Cathey died of the injuries he sustained in the blast.

James had long wanted to be a Marine and he proved it by being a very good one. During his short military career, he had been named Marine of the Year in the division and was twice on the Super Squad for his battalion. His plan was to eventually retire from the Marine Corps and become a History Professor.


James' wife, Katherine, was five months pregnant with a son at the time of her husband's death. She named their son, James Jeffrey Cathey Jr., when he was born on 22 December 2005.


Second Lieutenant James Jeffrey Cathey is buried at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley, NV, in Section 4F, Site 182.

The night before her husband’s body was buried, Katherine refused to leave the casket. The Marines tucked her into a makeshift bed on the floor in front of his flag-draped coffin. The resulting photos received national recognition.

Honoree ID: 5510   Created by: MHOH




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