Coast Guard Commissions New Cutter, Named for Iraq War Hero

The U.S. Coast Guard commissioned a new Fast Response Cutter, the Nathan Bruckenthal, in special ceremony in Alexandria, Virginia this week.

The Nathan Bruckenthal will be North Carolina’s second Fast Response Cutter (FRC) when it arrives at its new home port. According to the Coast Guard, FRCs “feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment that allow their crews to more effectively conduct the Coast Guard’s statutory missions.”

 Photo: U.S. Coast Guard
Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

The cutter is named after Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Bruckenthal, who was mortally wounded during Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Bruckenthal, who grew up in Ashburn, Virginia, was killed in the line of duty in 2004 while conducting maritime intercept operations in the North Arabian Gulf. He and six other coalition sailors tried to board a small boat near an Iraqi oil terminal, when the boat exploded. 

Bruckenthal was the first Coast Guard member killed in action since the Vietnam War. He was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.

The Coast Guard is naming all of its new Fast Response Cutters for service members who acted heroically.

“I am truly honored to be the first commanding officer of this cutter,” said Lt. Bryan Kilcoin, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Nathan Bruckenthal. “The crew of the cutter Bruckenthal will emulate Nate’s high standards and values he lived by. Semper paratus.”

-Meg Walburn Viviano