☷Army Engineer executive officers make military service a family business
U.S. Army ( By Press Release office)
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Maj . Christina Cavanaugh , 35th Engineer Battalion executive officer ( left ) , administers the oath of office to her brother , Capt . Derick Harjo , executive officer for Company C , 169th Engineer Battalion , during his promotion to captain on Monday at the Naval Construction Battalion Center , in Gulfport , Mississippi . FORT LEONARD WOOD , Mo . — The Army is a small world after all , at least for Maj . Christina Cavanaugh , 35th Engineer Battalion executive officer , and her younger brother , Capt . Derick Harjo , executive officer for Company C , 169th Engineer Battalion . While the 169th is headquartered at Fort Leonard Wood , under the 1st Engineer Brigade , Charlie Company trains Army carpentry and masonry engineers at the multi - service Naval Construction Training Center at the Naval Construction Battalion Center , in Gulfport , Mississippi . Cavanaugh traveled from Fort Leonard Wood to Gulfport to administer the oath of office to her brother during his promotion to captain on Monday . “Ever since we were young , it has always been important to me to set the example for my little brother , ” she said . “We didn’t grow up in the same house for his entire childhood , and even though I was at a distance from him for most of his life , I made sure I was still present and available . ” For Harjo , the opportunity to have family present for one of his career milestones was exciting because their family is small and cannot always travel cross - country . “It gave us a bright memory to have as a family moving forward , ” he said . The rare occasion was also a chance for Cavanaugh to display the roles of both big sister and senior ranking officer . “I am watching my little brother grow as a man and Army officer , ” she said . “As we grow up and have our own lives , we grow apart . So , this was an opportunity for us to come together , and for me to mentor him . ” Having Cavanaugh there to administer the oath at the ceremony served as a morale boost for the rest of the unit as well , said Capt . Brad Dinkel , Charlie Company commander . Dinkel said it is important to recognize Soldiers and their families in the largest venues possible , because it helps everyone refocus on achievement and success . “We want to recognize the commitment and sacrifices families make every day to support their Soldiers , ” he said . “Families are an integral source of strength for our Soldiers , and Charlie Company is committed to the well - being of Soldiers and their families . Recognizing both sides of the team is extremely important to us . ” This wasn’t the first time Cavanaugh has traveled to support her brother . In 2018 , she commissioned him at her alma mater , the U . S . Military Academy at West Point , New York — a path he took in her footsteps . “As a child , I knew I wanted to go explore the world and seek adventure , ” Harjo said . “When my sister got accepted into West Point , we went and visited her and toured the campus . ” Afterward , Harjo said everything clicked for him . His Army career makes the siblings both seventh - generation service members — their father was an Army Engineer officer as well . Later this month , Cavanaugh will move from the 35th to take over as XO at the 169th , and Harjo will move from the 169th to the 554th Engineer Battalion while he attends the Engineer Captains Career Course here . The idea that he was so close to being assigned to the same unit as his sister put things into perspective for Harjo in an entertaining way . “I think the whole thing is funny , and it brings a smile to my face , ” Harjo said . “The Army has units across continents , but is also so small that I end up in the same unit as my older sister . ” After completing ECCC , Harjo said he hopes to take command of a company — something he is ready for , according to Dinkel . “Capt . Harjo is committed to the Soldiers in the unit and has consistently shown that he cares about the team and is ready for command , ” Dinkel said . “We are all excited for the next chapter of his story , and wish him all the best . ” For Cavanaugh , promoting her brother is a tradition she hopes to continue — and maybe , even in the same unit one day . “I would love to serve with him in the same command , ” she said . “I hope to promote him to major in six to seven years . ”
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