Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal always went in for the active approach. 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.” Bruckenthal, 24, of Smithtown, N.Y., died April 24 when suicide bombers in boats attacked pumping stations in the Persian Gulf. He was based at the the Coast Guard Air Station in the Miami suburb of Opa-Locka, Fla. The Ridgefield, Conn., native was the first member of the Coast Guard to die in battle since Vietnam. Bruckenthal played football in high school and was involved with a club that helped students who were new to the school adjust. Bruckenthal was a month away from finishing his second stint in Iraq returning home to his wife, pregnant with their first child. Survivors also include his parents and sister.


The mile run for Nathan Bruckenthal.

Information for this story was provided by In Remembrance.