James Cathey

October 8, 1980- August 21, 2005


Lieutenant 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.


The Reno native was a young man who was living his dream, serving as a Marine Officer and leading other Marines. He enlisted in the Marine Corps and was chosen for the very competitive MECEP officer program after he led his squad to win the Marine Corps' elite Super Squad competition.


James Cathey finished high school in 3 years, and then enlisted in the Marines. He returned to college and graduated with honors from the University of Colorado in 3 years.

His mother, Carolyn Cathey, described her son 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."


James' wife, Katherine Cathey was five months pregnant at the time of her husband's death. She named her son James Cathey Jr. on his birth date: December 22, 2005.

Lieutenant Cathey touched thousands of lives. He inspired countless Marines through his exemplary leadership. He will be remembered as the best of us all.


Semper Fi Brother!


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Approx. Place of Death

James Cathey Leadership Scholarship

The James Cathey Leadership Award is awarded annually at the University of Colorado Boulder.  The award is given to a UC-Boulder NROTC graduate who will be pursuing a career as a Marine Corps Officer.  The awardee is chosen by the UC Boulder NROTC staff and must display leadership and the values that Lt Cathey imbued.

See recent recipients of the James Cathey Leadership Award here:  

James Cathey Award 


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