Army Sergeant First Class Curtis Mancini
Fallen: January 29, 2004
Army Sergeant First Class Curtis Mancini grew up in Lincoln, RI and graduated from Lincoln High School. He joined the Army in Fort Lauderdale, FL and was assigned to 486th Civil Affairs Battalion, Army Reserve, Broken Arrow, OK. He became a RI fallen hero when a weapons cache exploded on January 29, 2004, in Dehe Hendu, Afghanistan.
Sergeant First Class Mancini was assigned to the 486th Civil Affairs Battalian, Army Reserve in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The Mancini family moved to Rhode Island when Curtis was 2 years old. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1979 and went on to study at the Community College of Rhode Island.
Curtis was inspired to join the service following in the footsteps of his father who was a career military man and who retired as a Command Sergeant Major. Mancini joined the Army Reserve first in 1981. He transferred to the Florida National Guard in 1987 and served with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) until being reassigned to the Army Reserve’s 487th Civil Affairs Battalion in Perrine, FL. Curtis, affectionately called “Paco”, was hand-picked to train Iraqi Americans working with U.S. soldiers to liberate their native country. Their work was invaluable and led directly to thwarting several anti-coalition attacks.
A colleague described “Paco” as a “soldier’s soldier”–an apt description of the burly 43-year-old with a “shimmering Mr. Clean head.” Curtis told his daughter in an interview to “serve your country at least once in your life preferably while you’re young.” Upon returning from Iraq he volunteered to be redeployed to Afghanistan. His father asked him why and his response: “Because the job is never done.” Before he left, he told his mother that he had to go back now “so that my children and other people’s children won’t have to do it later.”
In his civilian life, Mancini was a 16-year veteran of the Davie, Florida Police Department. After graduating as the Academic Honor Graduate from the Broward County Police Academy in Southern Florida, he joined the Davie Police Department in 1987. He was promoted to detective in 1989 and was assigned to the Narcotics Division. In 1991 he was appointed to the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) where he was assigned to a drug task force out of the Fort Lauderdale district office.
Curtis became a hero when a weapons cache he and six other soldiers were working to destroy exploded in the village of Dehe Hendu outside of Kabul, Afghanistan. He is survived by his parents, his brother, Michael, a sister, Lisa, and his 3 children. He received the Rhode Island Star Medal for his service.