View Full Version : Medal of Honor Recipient SGM Jon R. Cavaiani

Team Sergeant
07-29-2014, 11:52
It is with deep sadness and sorrow that we inform you of the passing of SGM Jon R. Cavaiani.

Blue skies SGM.


Jon R. Cavaiani was born in Murphys, Ireland, moving to England in 1943. He came to the United States in 1947 and, in 1953, moved to the small farming community of Ballico, California. Ugo Cavaiani, his stepfather formally adopted him in 1961.

Though initially classified 4F, due in part to a severe allergy to bee stings, Cavaiani joined the Army in 1969, a year before he became a naturalized citizen. He then volunteered for Special Forces where he would spend most of his military career for the the next 17 years.

Cavaiani, serving in the Republic of Vietnam in 1971 with Task Force 1 Advisory Element, the Studies and Observations Group (SOG), an elite reconnaissance unit, received the Medal of Honor for his actions while a platoon leader providing security for Hickory Hill, an isolated radio relay site at Dong Tri. Erected in June 1968, the Hickory Hill post had existed on strategic Hill 953, in northwest Quang Tri Province at the edge of the DMZ. On 3 June 1971, heavy North Vietnamese artillery began battering the bunkered Hickory Hill defenses. Cavaiiani with the help of SGT John Johns organized the evacuation of 15 wounded men on June 4. Five of these men were American Special Forces and the remaining 10 were indigenous Montagnards. When the relay site was overrun and after the others had been evacuated, Cavaiani played dead and avoided capture for eleven days.
When Cavaiana spotted and tried to attract a passing US helicopter, he was captured by the North Vietnamese, spending 661 days in captivity. Cavaiani was released during Operation Homecoming on 27 March 1973. President Gerald Ford presented Cavaiani with the Medal of Honor during a ceremony on December 12, 1974.

After returning from Vietnam, he served as an instructor at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from July 1973 to August 1974, before transferring to the U.S. Army Readiness Region IX in San Francisco, California where he was assigned as the Chief Enlisted Advisor. His next assignment was as an Operations Sergeant on the Allied Staff in West Berlin, Germany, from September 1977 to August 1980. Cavaiani then served with the 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, from August 1980 to May 1983, and then with the 11th Special Forces Group at Fort Meade, Maryland, from May 1983 to June 1984. His next assignment was with the 97th Army Reserve Command, also at Fort Meade, where he served until September 1985. Moving to Fort Eustis, Virginia, he assumed the position of NCOIC of Plans, Operations, and Training and then as Operations Sergeant Major with the Flight Concepts Division, a slot he held until May 1989. Sgt Maj Cavaiani’s final assignment was as Chief Instructor at the Army ROTC detachment at the University of California, Davis campus, from May 1989 until his
retirement from the Army on May 31, 1990.

Upon retiring, he served as the 6th region director of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and recently graduated with honors from the culinary arts program in Columbia, California where he and his wife Barbara live. Jon has three grandsons and two granddaughters.

Among his numerous awards and decorations are the nation’s highest award for valor, the army Medal of Honor; the Legion of Valor, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star medal (valor), Purple Heart with oak leaf clusters. Jon was a freefall and static line jumpmaster and has over 5,000 jumps all over the world.

07-29-2014, 11:57
Rest in Peace Sergeant Major :(

An old article, but great nonetheless: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/true-survivor-sgt-major-jon-r-cavaiani-u-s-army-ret-1943-present/123

07-29-2014, 12:32
Rest in peace, Sergeant Major. Thank you for standing watch.

07-29-2014, 12:56
Rest in peace, SGM. Thank you for the examples you set.

07-29-2014, 12:56
I'll pull outer perimeter security on your Patrol Base when my time comes.

07-29-2014, 13:01
Rest in Peace SGM!!!!

The Reaper
07-29-2014, 13:14
RIP, Sergeant Major.

Thank you for your service, and your sacrifice.

It was a pleasure to have known you.

You have set a high standard within the Regiment.

Prayers out.


07-29-2014, 13:55
RIP, SGM. Thank you for your selfless service and leadership; you are the epitome of what Special Forces soldiers aspire to be. Vaya con Dios.


07-29-2014, 14:28
Rest In Peace SGM. You will be missed! Blue Skies.

07-29-2014, 15:44
From an interview that SGM C. did. His remark "First man on the ground, last man off the ground."

That said it.

07-29-2014, 15:47
RIP Sir. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

07-29-2014, 15:47
RIP Brother, Vaya con Dios.

07-29-2014, 16:18
Rest in SGM. Thank you for your lifetime of service, sacrifice, leadership and professionalism. You will ALWAYS be missed and NEVER forgotten. Give my son a hug for me and tell him I will see him soon. He will be your shield now ...

molon labe

07-29-2014, 16:35
Rest in Peace, Sergeant Major.


07-29-2014, 16:35

07-29-2014, 17:15
Rest in Peace, Sergeant Major.

07-29-2014, 17:43
Rest Well Warrior~

S/Sgt. Cavaiani distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action in the Republic of Vietnam on 4 and 5 June 1971 while serving as a platoon leader to a security platoon providing security for an isolated radio relay site located within enemy-held territory. On the morning of 4 June 1971, the entire camp came under an intense barrage of enemy small arms, automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenade and mortar fire from a superior size enemy force. S/Sgt. Cavaiani acted with complete disregard for his personal safety as he repeatedly exposed himself to heavy enemy fire in order to move about the camp's perimeter directing the platoon's fire and rallying the platoon in a desperate fight for survival. S/Sgt. Cavaiani also returned heavy suppressive fire upon the assaulting enemy force during this period with a variety of weapons. When the entire platoon was to be evacuated, S/Sgt. Cavaiani unhesitatingly volunteered to remain on the ground and direct the helicopters into the landing zone. S/Sgt. Cavaiani was able to direct the first 3 helicopters in evacuating a major portion of the platoon. Due to intense increase in enemy fire, S/Sgt. Cavaiani was forced to remain at the camp overnight where he calmly directed the remaining platoon members in strengthening their defenses. On the morning of S June, a heavy ground fog restricted visibility. The superior size enemy force launched a major ground attack in an attempt to completely annihilate the remaining small force. The enemy force advanced in 2 ranks, first firing a heavy volume of small arms automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fire while the second rank continuously threw a steady barrage of hand grenades at the beleaguered force. S/Sgt. Cavaiani returned a heavy barrage of small arms and hand grenade fire on the assaulting enemy force but was unable to slow them down. He ordered the remaining platoon members to attempt to escape while he provided them with cover fire. With 1 last courageous exertion, S/Sgt. Cavaiani recovered a machine gun, stood up, completely exposing himself to the heavy enemy fire directed at him, and began firing the machine gun in a sweeping motion along the 2 ranks of advancing enemy soldiers. Through S/Sgt. Cavaiani's valiant efforts with complete disregard for his safety, the majority of the remaining platoon members were able to escape. While inflicting severe losses on the advancing enemy force, S/Sgt. Cavaiani was wounded numerous times. S/Sgt. Cavaiani's conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.[/COLOR][/COLOR][/B]

07-29-2014, 18:01
Sergeant Major, Rest in sweet Peace, you have earned it. DOL

07-29-2014, 18:23
Rest in Peace SGM.

07-29-2014, 18:33
Rest in Peace SGM.

07-29-2014, 18:48
Rest in peace brave warrior. +

07-29-2014, 18:49
Rest in peace SGM. I can't see many like you coming along anytime soon.

Red Flag 1
07-29-2014, 19:20
Rest In God's Own Peace, SGM.

full cooler
07-29-2014, 19:26
Rest in peace, Sergeant Major.

07-29-2014, 21:13
Rest In Peace, Warrior and thank you for your service and sacrifice!

07-29-2014, 21:14
Rest in peace, Sergeant Major

07-29-2014, 21:25
Rest in Peace, Sergeant Major.

07-29-2014, 22:02
Rest In Peace, Sergeant Major.

07-30-2014, 08:21
Rest in Peace, SGM.

tom kelly
07-30-2014, 11:06
Rest in Peace SGM, your in a better place, See you on the other side Jon....Tom Kelly.

07-30-2014, 11:43
Rest in Peace and Thank You

07-30-2014, 20:42
Rest in Peace SGM Cavaiani, thank you for your sacrifices.

Goggles Pizano
07-31-2014, 10:22
In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti amen.
In pace requiescat SGM. Dominus vobiscum.

tom kelly
07-31-2014, 22:32
Jon Cavaiani MOH Recipient died on Tuesday July 29 and his remains were flown by American Airlines from California to Philadelphia,PA arriving @6:15.P.M. Today July 31 where the remains were met and escorted by The Philadelphia Police Highway Patrol Motorcycle Drill Team along with The Philadelphia Police Honor Guard. The motorcade escorted the hearse with Jon Cavaiani's remains to the Michael Reilly Funeral Home. The Philadelphia Police lined up and rendered a hand salute as the remains were carried into the funeral home located at 2632 E. Allegheny Ave. in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia.The people who gathered outside respectfully filed past the remains. According to the funeral director there will be no viewing of the remains and no service in Philadelphia.Jon's remains will stay at the funeral home until his burial in Arlington National Cemetary sometime in the future. As some of you may know there is a waiting period for anyone to be intered at Arlington National Cemetary. Respectively, Tom Kelly.

11-14-2014, 04:26
With respect.