Joe Curreri

Joe Curreri, October 26, 2007, Siet Lake, Republic of the Philippines 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 on October 26, 2007, in an accidental drowning incident at Siet Lake while deployed to the Southern Philippines region near Panamao, Jolo Island, Republic of the Philippines. He was 27. He was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines. Curreri joined the Army in 2004. This was his first deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Joe’s Team was part of a group helping to train Philippine government troops fighting Islamic militants in the nation’s southern islands. Joe was due to return to the United States with his group Nov. 8, 2007. Joe’s death occurred at the conclusion of an arduous, 11-hour scuba-training mission. A powerful and expert swimmer, he had borrowed a snorkel and flippers and jumped back into Lake Siet to retrieve the USC, Kiros and St. Christopher’s medals that he wore around his neck. Joe had accidentally dropped them in the lake and wanted to retrieve them before his return to the States, since they were special to him. The St. Christopher’s medal was a gift from his grandmother. As he was trying to resurface he suffered from shallow water blackout, faded back down, and drowned. Lake Siet has since been renamed Lake Curreri by the local villagers who loved Joe, especially the local children.