Their on-base housing is more like a weekend retreat for Kay and Pat Cavanaugh.
Maj. Gen. Cavanaugh is the commanding general at Fort Gordon and he and his wife live in Quarters 1, a spacious, airy home overlooking Boardman Lake on post.
Their favorite room is the upstairs sun room, which has a full view of the lake and its wildlife.
"It's a beautiful setting. The frogs and the ducks can get very noisy. It's like living on nature point," said Mrs. Cavanaugh. "There are deer that eat the flowers, an otter who eats all the fish."
Quarters 1 has two bedrooms and two bathrooms in the main part of the home, with a guest bedroom and bathroom connected to the home via a breezeway. The house has two levels, although only the upper level can be seen as guests enter the front of the home.
It was built in 1937 by Mr. and Mrs. Hollis Boardman as a summer retreat for their family and was acquired by the government in 1942. Its first military resident was Col. Herbert Schmid, in 1944. Plaques inside the foyer detail the home's history and list its past residents.
There are five other houses on the lake. One is a guest lodge for visiting generals. The Cavanaughs' neighbors include Command Sgt. Maj. Stanley Davis, Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center's commanding general, Brig. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, Fort Gordon's chief of staff, Col. Jeff Foley, and Fort Gordon's deputy commander, Col. Michael Guthrie.
The Cavanaughs moved into Quarters 1 two years ago when Maj. Gen. Cavanaugh assumed his post. He is retiring and will relinquish command on Aug. 7 to Brig. Gen. Janet Hicks.
The Cavanaughs have had many different addresses in the past 32 years. Many of the houses were assigned to them, whether to their tastes or not, but Mrs. Cavanaugh has always adapted. "Whatever you have makes it home. Wherever my stuff is is home," said Mrs. Cavanaugh.The Cavanaughs spent 13 years overseas, living in Korea and Germany. While overseas, Mrs. Cavanaugh collected an array of pieces representing different cultures. These pieces create a look of elegance while at the same time provide a casual and comfortable feel.
Some of the furnishings are hand-crafted European pieces, including a hand-painted Austrian cabinet that has been transformed into a storage chest for her crystal, French end tables and a hand-carved headboard and footboard from a bed that has been made into a bench.
Mrs. Cavanaugh has extensive collections of crystal and china, which she bought in Germany and Hungary. She bought many pieces from factory stores at prices well below retail. She also has decorative pieces of Polish pottery in her kitchen.
While her husband was stationed in Korea, Mrs. Cavanaugh managed a gift shop, where items from Hong Kong, the Philippines and Bali were sold. The shop raised money for scholarships for the dependents of American servicemen. The shop raised more than $200,000 in scholarship money one year, she said.
Items such as a decorative incense burner, which reminded her of Cinderella's carriage, in the foyer and the Taegu window in the master bedroom are from Korea.
Intermingled with Mrs. Cavanaugh's treasures from abroad are items reflecting interests of Maj. Gen. Cavanaugh.
In the living room is a case of his Civil War relicts, including buttons from uniforms and an epaulet bearing three stars of a general.
A Kentucky native, Maj. Gen. Cavanaugh remembers hearing stories of the Civil War as a youngster. "Talking to relatives, they passed down family traditions and legends. That sparked my interest," he said.
There are prints of Civil War scenes in the living room, but they must follow Mrs. Cavanaugh's guidelines.
"Nobody kills anyone on the living room walls," she said, and laughed.
Combat-related prints also are displayed in the lower level of the home, which houses his office and a den with a rustic hunting-lodge feel.
The den features knotty pine and is decorated with items such as a Civil War-era rifle. He also has a collection of Civil War-era bullets and a collection of dragons in his office.
Outside on the front lawn are cannons captured by the Confederacy and later taken to the Augusta Arsenal.
Retirement will bring a second career for Maj. Gen. Cavanaugh, who will become president of Gate Safe, a company that specializes in airline food security. The Cavanaughs will move to Memphis, Tenn., or to Atlanta.
Brig. Gen. Hicks will live in the guest lodge on the lake until Quarters 1 is ready.
THE HOME: Quarters 1
THE RESIDENTS: Maj. Gen. Pat Cavanaugh and Kay Cavanaugh
LOCATION: Fort Gordon
DIMENSIONS: 3,503 square feet
AGE: Built in 1937 as a summer retreat.
THE ESSENTIALS: Two story, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, kitchen, sun room, formal dining room, formal living room, den and office.
INTERESTING FACTS: In the front lawn of the home is a Civil War cannon captured by the Confederacy and once held at the Augusta Arsenal.