Fallen Soldier: Nathan B. Bruckenthal

Nathan B. Bruckenthal
Dates: Died April 4, 2004
Hometown: Stony Brook, New York
Branch of Service: Coast Guard
Rank: Petty Officer 3
Player: Christopher Gatcomb

Coast Guard PO3 Nathan B. Bruckenthal was killed April 24, 2004, while intercepting a waterborne suicide attack on an offshore oil terminal off the coast of Iraq in the northern Persian Gulf.

In the early evening hours of April 24, a dhow (a lateen-rigged Arabian vessel) approached an oil terminal in the Persian Gulf. PO3 Bruckenthal, trained as a boarding officer, was accompanied by five others. The group boarded a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB), taking off in pursuit. As the crew was poised to board the dhow, it exploded.

PO3 Bruckenthal was born in Stony Brook, New York. While growing up he also lived in Hawaii, Virginia, and Connecticut. In high school he was a volunteer firefighter and spoke of either making that his profession or becoming a police officer. “He would come to almost all the (fire) calls that he could,” said Michael Gabbianelli, a friend and fellow volunteer firefighter. “He was always there to help people.”

He enlisted in the Coast Guard following graduation from Ridgefield High School. This was his 2nd tour to Iraq. He was a month away returning home to his wife, pregnant with their first child.

PO3 Bruckenthal was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device and the Purple Heart for his actions.