Shipmates, family honor deceased Coast Guardsman’s ‘legacy’

PO3 Nathan Bruckenthall

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan B. (Nate) Bruckenthal July 17, 1979 – April 24, 2004

CAPE MAY, N.J. – The Coast Guard will dedicate staff barracks at its only enlisted basic training facility to a Coast Guardsman killed in action during a ceremony Tuesday 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 will recognize Bruckenthal’s sacrifice on the 14th anniversary of his graduation from the facility by dedicating staff living quarters to his memory.

“Petty Officer Bruckenthal’s selfless service and sacrifice epitomizes our Core Values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty, and he continues to make a lasting contribution to our service through his legacy, which shapes future generations of Coast Guardsmen,” said Capt. Bill Kelly, the commanding officer of Training Center Cape May.

Bruckenthal’s father and several other family members are scheduled to attend the ceremony to unveil memorials dedicated to the Coast Guardsman’s service and sacrifice. The Coast Guardsman left behind a wife and child who are unable to attend Tuesday’s event.

The Coast Guard’s most senior leaders are also scheduled to attend the ceremony including Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Robert J. Papp and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Michael P. Levitt. The ceremony comes only one day prior to the State of the Coast Guard speech by the Commandant in Washington; however, the Coast Guard’s most senior officer wanted to ensure he was present for this “important and significant event for the Coast Guard and Training Center Cape May.”

A number of Bruckenthal’s shipmates, colleagues and friends will be attending the ceremony in his honor. Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Ruggiero, who was by Bruckenthal’s side when he was killed, will be a distinguished guest. Bruckenthal’s company commanders, who led him through recruit training, will help unveil a memorial in his honor. The master of ceremonies for the event, Lt. Cmdr. Doug Daniels, escorted Bruckenthal to his final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., in 2004.

Several elected officials or their representatives from the region are also scheduled to attend.

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