Brigadier General Cavanaugh is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1992.
From 1993-1997, Brigadier General Cavanaugh was assigned to HMH-462 and completed Unit Deployment Program (UDP) tours while serving with the 31st MEU (SOC) conducting shipboard operations throughout the Pacific. He served in the Maintenance Department and later as the Logistics, Intelligence and the Operations Officer.
From 1998-2001, Brigadier General Cavanaugh was assigned to HMH-362 where he served as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer (AMO) and as the Director for Safety and Standardization. After his tour with the Ugly Angels, Brigadier General Cavanaugh was assigned to HMX-1 in Quantico, Virginia, where he served as the Quality Assurance Officer and as the AMO for the Greenside Maintenance Department.
From 2006-2008, Brigadier General Cavanaugh commanded the Ugly Angels and deployed the squadron to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From the efforts during this deployment, his squadron was subsequently recognized as the Squadron of the Year and three Marines under his command were recognized as the Marine Corps Aviator of the Year, Crew Chief of the Year and Ordnanceman of the Year.
From 2013-2015, Brigadier General Cavanaugh commanded MAG-36. As the 3d MEB ACE, MAG-36 deployed in direct support of Operation Damayan, typhoon relief in the Philippines. In 2015, elements from the MAG deployed in direct support of Operation Sahayogi Haat, earthquake relief in Nepal. Under his command, MAG-36 conducted a myriad of bilateral exercises throughout the USPACOM area of operations.
From 2016-2018, Brigadier General Cavanaugh served as the Deputy Commander, U.S. Marine Corp Forces, Pacific.
Brigadier General Cavanaugh's staff tours include service as the Joint Doctrine Branch Chief, as the Executive Assistant to the Vice Director and as the Deputy Director for Operations on the Joint Staff. He also served as the Aide-de-Camp to the 27th and 28th Chief of Naval Operations. He later served as the Director of the CMC's Safety Division and as the Military Assistant to the 75th Secretary of the Navy.
Brigadier General Cavanaugh's education includes a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy (1990), an MBA from Webster University and a MS in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University's Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He is also an MIT Seminar XXI Fellow.
Brigadier General Cavanaugh's personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two Gold Stars, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Gold Stars, the Air Medal with Strike/Flight numeral 5, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and the Presidential Service and Joint Staff Badges.
Brigadier General Cavanaugh has accumulated over 3,000 flight hours in various aircraft but primarily in the CH-53D/E.
Brigadier General Cavanaugh is married to the former Ms. Sherry Williams from North Hollywood, California and they have four children.