Brad Cavner was born on November 23, 1983, in San Diego, California. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on October 29, 2002, and went on active duty to begin basic training on February 3, 2003. Cavner completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in April 2003, and then attended Sonar Technician A School at the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center at Point Loma, California, from April to June 2003. Petty Officer Cavner next attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California, from June 2003 to February 2004, followed by Basic Airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in February and March 2004. He attended SEAL Qualification Training from March to August 2004, and then served with SEAL Team ONE at NAB Coronado from August 2004 to December 2012. His final assignment was with SEAL Team THREE at NAB Coronado from December 2012 until he was killed in a parachute training accident at El Centro, California, on June 23, 2014. During his time as a Navy SEAL, Chief Petty Officer Cavner deployed into combat 5 times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy while serving as SEAL Team ONE CHARLIE Platoon Team Leader and Lead Breacher, Naval Special Warfare Task Unit-Trident, in direct support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM from September 2009 to April 2010. Petty Officer Cavner displayed exceptional leadership during 30 combat operations resulting in 49 enemy killed in action, 2,000 kilograms of narcotics destroyed, defeated insurgent networks and increased security in southern Afghanistan. On 15 November 2009, his element conducted a Combat Reconnaissance Patrol in Qadam Shalay. They were heavily engaged by enemy fighters and pinned down in a multi-pronged attack. Petty Officer Cavner fearlessly led a maneuver element in an assault on an enemy-held compound. Several dozen Taliban fighters attacked his element and threatened to envelop his patrol. He fearlessly engaged one fighter and directed his men to engage others while leading his team under heavy fire back to the friendly-held strong pointed compound. His tenacity in the face of danger helped save his teammates' lives, denied enemy freedom of movement, and ensured mission success in Khas Uruzgan District. By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative and total dedication to duty, Petty Officer Cavner reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the united States Naval Service.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.