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Featured Family Member - Corporal Thomas J. Cavanaugh

Thomas was awarded the Navy Cross during the Vietnam War. The citation reads as follows:

For extraordinary heroism while serving as a Platoon Sergeant with Company F, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, Ninth Marine Amphibious Brigade in the Republic of Vietnam on 19 September 1968.

Company F was conducting a reconnaissance in force in Quang Nam Province when the Marines encountered a large enemy force employing heavy automatic weapons and accurate sniper fire which pinned down elements of the Company and caused numerous casualties.

Rapidly assessing the situation Corporal Cavanaugh skilfully deployed elements of his platoon to establish a strong base of fire which would enable the beleaguered Marines to extract injured personnel. Completely disregarding his own safety, he fearlessly exposed himself to the intense hostile fire, shouting words of encouragement to his men and directing their fire against the enemy emplacements while assisting the wounded to positions of relative safety.

As the last of the casualties were withdrawn from the battle area, Corporal Cavanaugh rapidly redeployed his forces to provide covering fire for another hard pressed platoon. Alertly observing one of his men seriously wounded and lying in a dangerously exposed position, he unhesitatingly began manoeuvring across the fire-swept terrain to his companion's side when he was seriously wounded.

Ignoring his injury, he resolutely continued to crawl toward his wounded comrade until he was no longer able to advance. Steadfastly refusing medical attention, he calmly directed his men in assisting his injured companion to a covered position. Once assured that the last of the wounded Marines had been treated, Corporal Cavanaugh allowed himself to be evacuated to a protected area where he succumbed to his injuries.

His bold initiative and heroic efforts inspired all who observed him and contributed immeasurably to the accomplishment of his unit's mission. By his courage, sincere concern for the welfare of his fellow Marines and unwavering devotion to duty, Corporal Cavanaugh upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

If you are related to Thomas or have information on him please contact me here.

With thanks to Vic Vilionis at

Navy Cross

US Navy Cross