CAPE MAY, N.J. – The Coast Guard dedicated staff barracks at its only enlisted basic training facility to a Coast Guardsman killed in action during a ceremony Feb. 26 at 11 a.m.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Bruckenthal, who graduated basic training here in 1999, was killed by suicide bombers during Operation Iraqi Freedom defending oil platforms off the Iraqi coast April 24, 2004. Officials at the training center recognized Bruckenthal’s sacrifice on the 14th anniversary of his graduation from the facility by dedicating staff living quarters in his memory.
“Petty Officer Bruckenthal is part of our long, blue line of dedicated Coast Guardsmen who have stepped forward to serve their fellow man and put service before self,” said Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Robert J. Papp. “As future generations of Coast Guardsmen walk through these doors and into this building – and into our Service – we can be sure he will always be remembered.”
Bruckenthal’s father, Mr. Eric Bruckenthal, and several other family members attended the ceremony and helped unveil a memorial at Bruckenthal Hall dedicated to the Coast Guardsman’s service and sacrifice. The Coast Guardsman leaves behind a wife and child who were unable to attend Tuesday’s event.
“I know Nate (Petty Officer Bruckenthal) would’ve have wanted to be remembered in this way – at the place where he started his journey in the Coast Guard,” said Mr. Bruckenthal. “We appreciate the Coast Guard’s continued recognition of his service and sacrifice.”
A number of Bruckenthal’s shipmates, colleagues and friends attended the ceremony in his honor. Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Ruggiero, who was by Bruckenthal’s side when he was killed, was a distinguished guest. Bruckenthal’s company commanders, who led him through recruit training, helped unveil his memorial. The master of ceremonies for the event was Lt. Cmdr. Doug Daniels, who met Bruckenthal’s casket upon his return to the U.S. in 2004.
“Our newest members will be forever shaped by Petty Officer Nathan Bruckenthal’s commitment to our Core Values,” said Capt. Bill Kelly, the commanding officer of Training Center Cape May. “When Coast Guardsmen think of their heroes, Petty Officer Bruckenthal’s name now appears on the same list as Signalman First Class Douglas Munro, Seaman William Flores, and Captain Richard Etheridge just to name a few.”