Former Trojan Swimmer Joe Curreri Dies While Serving In Philippines
Oct. 31, 2007
Former USC swimmer Joe Curreri, a Staff Sergeant and Special Forces communications sergeant assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Lewis, Wash., died in an accidental drowning incident at Siet Lake while deployed to the Southern Philippines region near Panamao, Republic of the Philippines. He was 27.
He was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines. This was his first deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
Curreri was born and raised in the suburbs of Baltimore. He was a four year varsity letter winner in swimming and founded his high school water polo team. Upon graduation from high school, Curreri attended USC. While at USC he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and was a four-year varsity letter winner in swimming.
Among his swimming career highlights were a 1999 Pac-10 Championships finals appearance in the 200y back (finishing eighth) and a 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials appearance in the 400m IM (60th). He was also part of USC's first-place 1999 U.S. Spring National 800m free relay.
Curreri was named to the Pac-10's All-Academic second team in 2000 and 2001, earned the team's Josh Ilika Spirit Award those years as well and was a three-time Scholastic All-American in high school.
Additionally, he served as the Executive Vice President of USC's Student-Athlete Academic Council in 2000-2001.
After graduating from USC, Curreri worked as a history tutor, swim coach, and recruiting coordinator for a recruiting agency in El Segundo, Calif.
Curreri's military education include the Warrior Leader Course, Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course, Basic Airborne Course; Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape Course; Special Forces Qualification Course, and the Combat Diver Qualification Course.
His awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Parachutist Badge, Special Forces Tab, and the Special Operations Divers Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal.
Curreri is survived by his wife, Athena, of Los Angeles, Calif.; mother, Karen, and sister, Shannon, of Redondo Beach, Calif.; father, Frank, stepmother, Tricia, and stepsister Angelia of Parkville, Md.