The staff barracks at U.S. Coast Guard Training Station Cape May, N.J., were recently dedicated in honor of Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Bruckenthal.
Bruckenthal, 24, son of Northport Police Chief Ric Bruckenthal, was killed in action on April 24, 2004 while on patrol conducting maritime intercept operations at the Khawr Al Amay Oil Terminal off the coast of Iraq. Last week marked the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.
The dedication ceremony on Feb. 26 marked the 13th anniversary of Bruckenthal's graduation from basic training at Cape May. An exhibit in the entranceway of "Bruckenthal Hall" honors his service to our country.
When Bruckenthal died, his wife Patty was pregnant with daughter Harper. Patty was able to complete a degree in nursing through a grant from the Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund which was established by the Coast Guard Foundation in Bruckenthal's honor.
Bruckenthal has been memorialized in many other ways in the years since his death. A memorial dedicated to him is located in front of the Northport Fire Department; U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary named a patrol boat "Bruckenthal," and Coast Guard Station Eaton's Neck named its canine mascot, a black Labrador, Nate.
He was the first Coast Guardsman to die in combat since the Vietnam War and was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal.
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