Joseph Schwedler was born on May 1, 1979, in Iron Mountain, Michigan. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on January 14, 2002, and went on active duty to begin basic training on March 25, 2002. Schwedler completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in May 2002, and then attended A School at Great Lakes from May to October 2002. He attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at NAB Coronado, California, from November 2002 to May 2003, followed by SEAL Qualification Training from May to November 2003. After completing Basic Airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in January 2004, and Naval Special Warfare Advanced training in June 2004, Petty Officer Schwedler served with SEAL Team FOUR at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from July 2004 until he was killed in action in Iraq on April 6, 2007. Joseph Schwedler was buried at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Crystal Falls, Michigan.
His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy as SEAL Operator and Combat Advisor to the Iraqi Army Scouts in direct support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM while assigned to Naval Special Warfare Task Unit-FALLUJAH on 6 April 2007. Petty Officer Schwedler displayed heroic bravery in the face of the enemy, guiding a combined assault force from a helicopter insertion into a remote insurgent safe haven to capture the leader of an Al Qaeda cell involved with the shoot-down of a U.S. helicopter. At the target, he followed another SEAL into an initial room with his element. As the other SEAL lined up to kick open a door immediately on the left, he led two Scouts to a door directly across from the entry point, addressing the next threat to the force. Unknown to the team, three Al Qaeda were waiting in ambush and commenced firing. Despite the hail of gunfire coming immediately behind him to his left, he continued to breach his door, and made entry with two members of the team. It was during this push into the second room that he was mortally wounded by enemy fire. His split second actions and sacrifice in the face of overwhelming enemy fire protected the assault force from potentially deadly rear action. By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication to duty, Petty Officer Schwedler reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.