April 15, 2024

DC3 Nathan B. Bruckenthal

DC3 Nathan B. Bruckenthal was born on July 17, 1979, and died in Iraq on April 24, 2004. He joined the Coast Guard in 1998, and his first duty station was on the Coast Guard Cutter Pointe Wells. During his service on that cutter, he was awarded the USCG Pistol Marksman Ribbon, USCG Rifle Marksman Ribbon and received a Unit commendation. After training as a damage control officer, he was assigned toNeah Bay,Washington, where he met his wife Pattie Bruckenthal. There, Nathan also volunteered as a police officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, and assistant high school football coach. During his tenure inWashingtonhe received the Coast Guard Sea Service Ribbon. He was accepted to the elite tactical law enforcement program and assigned to TACLET South, housed at the Coast Guard’s Miami Air Station. It was because of his unique skills and ability to train others that he was deployed toIraqduring Operation Iraqi Freedom in early 2003. While there, he received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Combat Action Ribbon for his action in and around the port of Um Qasar.

He volunteered for a second deployment to Iraq in March 2004. Only weeks after discovering that his wife was carrying his unborn child, Nathan Bruckenthal and two U.S. Navy sailors were killed when a suicide bomber attacked their rigid hull inflatable boat. Nathan had been chosen to become a part of the TACLET’s training unit, and his job that afternoon was to instruct Navy personnel on how to conduct maritime intercept operations. The team observed a suspicious vessel, which did not heed their commands. The team intercepted the vessel. This selfless act of courage protected the sailors aboard the U.S.S. Firebolt, the off-shore oil platform and the oil terminal itself at Khawr Al Amaya, in the northern Arabian Gulf. For this action, Nathan was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal, the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Award and his second Combat Action Ribbon. He was laid to rest with many of America’s best at Arlington National Cemetery. Nathan’s daughter, Harper Natalie, was born on November 19, 2004.

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