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Commander Sean Cavanagh
Commanding Officer, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77
A native of Grand Junction, Colorado, Commander Cavanagh graduated from University of Colorado, Boulder in 2005, earning a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. CDR Cavanagh was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Program and reported to NAS Pensacola, FL for flight training in April 2006. He earned his Naval Aviator Wings in December 2007. In January 2008, CDR Cavanagh reported to the HS-10 “Warhawks” for initial fleet training as an SH-60F Helicopter Pilot.
CDR Cavanagh began his operational flying in October 2008 with the “Red Lions” of HS-15 in the SH-60F/HH-60H. While a “Red Lion”, he flew missions in direct support of Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component Detachment, Balad, Iraq, and made two deployments aboard USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70), participating in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, Operation UNIFIED RESPONSE, and Operation NEW DAWN.
CDR Cavanagh transitioned to the MH-60R and in April 2012 graduated from the Navy Rotary Wing Weapons School and checked into Helicopter Maritime Strike Weapons School Pacific as a Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor (SWTI). CDR Cavanagh served as the Surface Warfare (SUW) Program Manager and was selected as the 2013 Commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet Tactician of the Year. During this tour, in December 2013, he graduated from Arizona State University with a Masters of Business Administration.
CDR Cavanagh joined the HSM-37 “Easyriders” in February 2015 where he served as the Squadron Weapons and Tactics Instructor, Night Systems Program Manager, and Training Officer. CDR Cavanagh was selected as the HSM-37 Tactician of the Year in 2016.
CDR Cavanagh served as a Department Head in HSM-75, the “Wolf Pack”. While with the Wolf Pack, he completed one deployment aboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, and one deployment aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) in support of Exercise NORTHERN EDGE serving as both the Operations Officer and Maintenance Officer, as well as, Officer in Charge for Exercise NORTHERN STRIKE.
Following his department head tour, CDR Cavanagh served as a staff officer at Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, J-3 Directorate. While on the Joint Staff, he directly supported Information Operations and Electronic Warfare. He selected for squadron command in April 2020 and assumed the role of Executive Officer at HSM-77 in August 2022. CDR Cavanagh assumed his current role of Commanding Officer of the HSM-77 Saberhawks in September 2023.
CDR Cavanagh has accumulated over 2,600 flight hours in five aircraft. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (4 awards), Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (4 awards), Army Achievement Medal, and various service awards and ribbons.
Last Updated: 13 September 2023