Senior Chief Petty Officer Mary E. Cavanagh not only served her country from 1977-2000, but since retiring from the Navy, has devoted the last 18 years educating future military and academic leaders as the Naval Science Instructor for the North Rockland High School Navy Junior Reserve Training Corps.
Upon graduating from North Rockland High School in 1976, she enlisted in the U.S. Navy and commenced active duty in 1977. After completing Cryptologic Technician Collection “A” school, she reported to Naval Communication Station, Rota, Spain where she served as a Manual Morse Operator and then as a High Frequency Direction Finding Net Control Operator. Later, SCPO Cavanagh reported with the first contingent of women to be permanently assigned to Diego Garcia, and eventually served as a Senior Analyst/Report Writer.
SCPO Cavanagh’s first assignment at sea was as the Leading Petty Officer and Senior Mediterranean Analyst, deployed on board the USS Puget Sound in support of operations following the bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut. Among many noteworthy assignments, SCPO Cavanagh has served in the Office of Naval Intelligence, and her final assignment was as the Non Commissioned Officer in Charge and Senior Enlisted Advisor at the Cryptologic Services Group, National Military Joint Intelligence Center at the Pentagon.
SCPO Cavanagh holds a Master’s degree in Technology in Education from the New York Institute of Technology. Her list of personal decorations includes the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal with three gold stars, the Good Conduct Award with four bronze stars, Expert Rifle, Expert Pistol and various other campaign medals and ribbons. She is also authorized to wear the Joint Chiefs of Staff Badge and the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist Insignia. SCPO Cavanagh was also selected as the Rockland County Female Veteran of the Year.