Officer Leaves To Serve In Iraq

By Susan Morse

Hampton Union, Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Seabrook police Officer Michael Cawley

SEABROOK - Seabrook police Officer Michael Cawley, 41, is on his way to Iraq.

The sergeant first class E-7 in the Army Reserves, was deployed on Saturday, Sept. 11, for 1½ to two years, according to his wife, Barbara.

Barbara Cawley and the couple's two teenage children, Christopher, 13, and Dan, 18, of Hampton, expect a long wait before they see their husband and father again.

"I feel more for the boys," said Barbara Cawley. "I said to Christopher, I'm going to have to teach you to drive. We're doing OK. I think the hard part will be the length of time. I see the reports from Iraq. Every time a soldier is killed, I'll wonder."

Mike Cawley is training stateside for 30 days before being sent to Kuwait for two weeks and then on to wherever the Army needs him. The government isn't saying where that is but Barbara Cawley assumes her husband will be in Iraq, likely giving instruction in weapons training.

As a reservist, Cawley served as a drill sergeant and weapons instructor.

Cawley doesn't expect to see her husband in the 18 to 24 months he's overseas.

"We'll get a call every month from the commander in his unit," said Cawley. "(Mike) won't get to call unless he has a satellite phone."

There may be e-mail exchanges and there's always the mail.

This isn't the first time the couple has been separated by war. During the Gulf War, Mike Cawley was deployed as part of Desert Storm.

His time there was much shorter - three months - than what is expected this time around.

"This is our second deployment," said Barbara Cawley.

Her husband has been in the Reserves as long as she can remember, after serving four years of active duty.

For the second deployment, family, friends and co-workers at the Seabrook Police Department gave Mike Cawley a send-off Friday, Sept. 10, at the home of his brother and fellow police officer, James Cawley.

Cawley has worked for the Seabrook department for 15 years.

To fill Cawley's position during his absence, Police Chief David Currier has promoted part-time officer Gary O'Brien to an interim, full-time officer.

Cawley's job as drill instructor was to train other soldiers to fight in Iraq, said Currier.

"He said," said Currier, "How can I send these people without being willing to go myself?'"