U.Va. Naval ROTC Unit Will Have New Commander

March 6, 2012 — Capt. Michael Cashman will assume command of the University of Virginia's Naval ROTC program this month. He will replace Capt. Timothy L. Watkins, who is retiring.

Cashman, 48, most recently served as a commander of a helicopter wing in the Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Atlantic in Virginia Beach, the largest and most versatile aviation wing in the U.S. Navy.

As commander of the ROTC unit, Cashman will teach leadership and ethics to the fourth-year midshipmen.

"I think I am fortunate to have this opportunity to train the leaders of the future at the University of Virginia, which is known for its traditions and its heritage," he said. "The organization here is in great shape. It is a fine-tuned unit and running very well."

Cashman is a 1986 graduate of the University of Maine, where he received a bachelor's degree in business administration, and where he was among the first class of midshipmen to receive a Navy ROTC commission. He has a master's degree in national security affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School, specializing in special operations and low-intensity conflict. He also has a master's in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College.

A native of Norwalk, Conn., he said he was drawn to the Navy because of his interest in aviation and because his uncle was a commander on the USS Constitution, the world's oldest commissioned warship, launched in 1797.

"I thought the Navy offered the best options," he said. "There is day-to-day excitement with different challenges. As I grew older, I saw that there were opportunities to mentor and lead and get involved in the lives of the young people in my command."

He earned his "Wings of Gold," which marks him as a qualified Navy pilot, at Whiting Field in Milton, Fla., and became a naval aviator in 1987. He has deployed to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and in support operations during the Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom campaigns. He has been an instructor pilot, flag lieutenant for the commander in the Atlantic Fleet Training Command and operations officer for the commander in the Atlantic helicopter tactical wing chief of the current actions branch with U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

Cashman is married to Katy White, a Madison native, and they are looking forward to establishing a permanent home in Madison to raise their three sons.

– by Matt Kelly