July 25 was a big day at the Alexandria waterfront with a lot of military pomp and circumstance that included high-ranking officers, big names in local, state and national government, and even a military band when a 154-foot cutter ship, moored at the city pier, was officially commissioned.
The cutter is named after local Herndon high school graduate, Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Bruckenthal, who was mortally wounded during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Bruckenthal thwarted a multi-vessel suicide attack on an oil terminal in the Arabian Gulf in 2004. His actions prevented further loss of life, environmental damage, and the destruction of key infrastructure. For his courageous actions, Bruckenthal was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. He was the first Coast Guard officer killed in action since the Vietnam War.
The ship features advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment that allows its crews to more effectively conduct the Coast Guard’s statutory missions.
The USCGS Nathan Bruckenthal will be stationed at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.