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Damage Controlman Third Class Nathan Brandt Bruckenthal

Nathan BruckenthalBorn: July 17, 1979 in Stoney Brook, New York
Died: April 24, 2004 in Arabian Sea

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal of Smithtown, New York was a happy fun-loving boy who turned into a happy young man. He was a graduate of Herndon High, where he participated in track and field, and the Naval Junior ROTC. He joined the Coast Guard when he was 18 because he wanted to do something with his life and to support and defend his country. He came back to visit his old high school at least twice since joining the Coast Guard. Whenever he visited, he asked to talk to the current NJROTC cadets. Following his family’s legacy of public service, he was excited at the prospect of life at sea. His father has worked in the Northport Police Department for 25 years and his stepfather is a veteran of the Army. Nathan grew up in Long Island, Hawaii, Virginia and Connecticut and lived briefly in Ridgefield during his teenage years, attending Ridgefield High School and serving on the town’s volunteer fire department. He left in 1995 after his sophomore year. In high school he was a volunteer firefighter and spoke of either making that his profession or becoming a police officer. Nate served in Long Island and Washington State before joining Tactical Law Enforcement Team South, known as TACLET South, at Coast Guard Air Station Miami. TACLET South has sent law enforcement detachments to help in Iraq since the beginning of operations there. Coast Guard operations in Iraq include port and coastal security, maritime law enforcement, humanitarian aid and training of the newly established Iraqi coast guard. Nate found ways to lighten the mood on those long missions. He would always tell stories about the dumbest things. You always could count on him for a laugh. Because of his rapport with his peers, he was picked to join the training staff upon his return. Only the cream of the crop is picked for the assignment of training other members of TACLET South. Nathan was currently serving his second tour in Iraq and was scheduled to return in a month. He had also served there from February to May the previous year. He had been married two years, but missed both anniversaries because he was in Iraq. His wife Patricia was three months pregnant with their first child, something Nate was very excited about. His baby daughter was born the following November. He was the first Coast Guard member to die in combat since the Vietnam War when his boat turned over off the port of Umm Qsar in Iraq after a suicide bombing attack. For his actions, he was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal in April 2004. He was 24 years old.

Coast Guard
Tactical Law Enforcement Team
South Detachment 403

Burial is at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia – Sec 60 Site 7978

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