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Source: United States Coast Guard

Coast Guard names Philadelphia native, police officer as Reserve Enlisted Person of the year

PHILADELPHIA — The Coast Guard is made up of members who bring their backgrounds, skills, creativity and individual talents to the mission of the service, united by the core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty. While the service has hundreds of outstanding members across all ranks, each year only two enlisted members are recognized for their excellence: one active duty, one reservist.

This year, Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph M. Curley, a Philadelphia native and police officer in the city of brotherly love, was selected as the Coast Guard Reserve Enlisted Person of the year. Curley is a maritime enforcement specialist at Sector Delaware Bay and is part of a boarding team in Philadelphia where he conducts vessel boardings and antiterrorism force protection patrols.

Curley deployed to Joint Task Force Guantanamo’s Maritime Security Detachment and participated as a member of Lighthouse Heritage. Curley and his team dedicated more than 2,200 hours to preserve a historic lighthouse and host 78 tours. He then returned to Sector Delaware Bay after serving back-to-back deployments to resume his leadership role on the Sector Boarding Team. He completed four deep-draft and 11 routine boardings and supported two Customs and Border Protection operations.

“Any success that I’ve had in the Coast Guard is due to the awesome people I work with,” said Curley. “I’m always trying to look for something new and try to have a good time doing it.”

Before joining the reserves, Curley served in the Army until 1993 when he decided to join the Coast Guard. While he serves in the Coast Guard Reserves, Curley’s full-time job is serving the city of Philadelphia as a police officer, which he’s done for the last 26 years.

Curley dedicates his time to volunteer and serve others. According to his shipmates, he is characterized by a determination to finish his team’s mission. He takes every opportunity afforded to him and doesn’t steer away from a challenge.

“He’s always available and is consistently one to raise his hand and volunteer,” said Lt. j.g. Adam T. Deussing, Curley’s boarding team supervisor in Sector Delaware Bay.

On March 27, 2020, Curley received a phone call from Adm. Karl Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard, to notify him on his selection and to also pass the news that he was being advanced to chief petty officer, a milestone in the career of any enlisted member.

“It was extremely humbling and it took me very much left field,” said Curley “It took some time to even grasp what was going on and when it finally sank in, I just couldn’t have felt more honored.” 

On May 1, 2020, Curley and his family and friends attended an online advancement ceremony where he had his chief anchors pinned on for the first time signifying his new leadership role.

Curley says he looks forward to becoming a leader in the Coast Guard as he becomes a chief and looks to inspire those around him.

“My advice for other reservists would be to look for different opportunities, look at deployments and try to cross-train with different units,” said Curley.

The Coast Guard Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year is designed to recognize the exemplary men and women of the active and reserve enlisted workforce showcasing top performers that reflect the Coast Guard’s core values. It’s a distinct honor bestowed on a precious few that carries its impact down the chain of command and is felt up at the very top. 

“Our service has been blessed with a large amount of talented individuals who have chosen the Coast Guard Reserve as a way to serve their country,” said Master Chief Gee Williamson, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Reserve. “In determining candidates for this award, members are evaluated on a number of different qualities, measurements of their impact in the culture of the Coast Guard. Petty Officer Curley was deserving for his dedication to the Coast Guard and for his excellent representation of our core values while serving in the Reserve component. He has helped create great leaders, and ensured we continue down the path of excellence. Welcome to the Chiefs Mess, Chief Curley.”

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