Stephen Edward Cavanaugh Jr.


Stephen Edward Cavanaugh Jr.

San Diego County, California, USA
Death 24 Mar 2018 (aged 96)
Riverside, Riverside County, California, USA
Burial Riverside, Riverside County, California, USA
Plot SECTION 55A SITE 3729
Memorial ID 194885794 View Source
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UCLA's Stephen Cavanaugh was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the coast artillery before being sent to the Ordnance Corps which Steve said, "did not appear to offer the kind of excitement I had hoped to find in a wartime army."

After watching a captured film on Germany's Fallschirmjager, Lieutenant Cavanaugh volunteered for the parachute troops and was sent to the historic 501st Parachute Infantry before joining the new 511th PIR at Camp Toccoa, GA in December of 1942 where Colonel Orin D. "Hard Rock" Haugen promptly took Steve and a handful of new arrivals up Mount Currahee in their Pink and Greens.

Finding himself promoted to Captain in early 1944, Cavanaugh would go on to lead D Company through its toughest campaigns of the war on Leyte and Luzon. Perhaps with some pride, he noted, "I found D Company to be a well-trained, capable group of pugnacious soldiers." Known as "Rusty" due to his red hair, Captain Cavanaugh became a highly-respected commander within the 11th Airborne Division. Division G-2 Colonel Henry Muller said Rusty was "the ideal company commander."

Enduring the same struggles as his men, Rusty was wounded multiple times and lost over 45 pounds due the constant demands of combat and leadership. He would ultimately earn the Silver Star (with OLC), Bronze Star, Purple Heart (with OLC), Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Infantryman s Badge, World War II Victory Medal, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Badge, Philippine Liberation Medal with service star, the American Defense Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three Battle Stars and one Arrowhead.
Rusty went on to serve in Korea and then Vietnam where he was hand-picked to become Chief of SOG. He retired after decades of service to his country and passed away in his hometown of Riverside, California in 2016. Lest We Forget.

Contributor: DLP (49732503)



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