By Rob Morrison
The last time he saw his son was around Christmas time and for North-port Police Chief Ric Bruckenthal it has been too long, especially now that the 23-year-old has been deployed to the Persian Gulf and is serving his country in the war with Iraq. Chief Bruckenthal's son, Damage Control Petty Officer Nathan Bruckenthal, a member of the Tactical Law Enforcement. Team (TACLET South) of the U.S. Coast Guard, was deployed to the Persian Gulf about a month ago. Though his father has received some correspondences, he is unaware of his son location and proximity to the war.
Before being sent to war. Petty Officer Bruckenthal was stationed at the Opa Locka Air Base in Dania Beach, Florida, just outside of Miami. As a member of the TACLET team for nine months, Officer Bruckenthal conducted boardings of other vessels to search for narcotics and other Illegal activity. "In the past he did counter narcotics interdictions and now he is obviously doing other kinds of boardings, Chief Bruckenthal said. "Quite frankly I don't know what he's doing now." All his father knows is that his son was deployed to the Persian. Three weeks after his deployment Officer Bruckenthal called his father via satellite phone Monday, March 1-7. He did receive two quick emails from him," Chief Bruckenthal said. "One Indicated that he had been deployed on to a naval vessel and he was going to do what he is trained to do. That's the last I heard from him. He was concerned. Even at the time he was deployed he was certain that this was going to heat up and be a real war."
Officer Bruckenthal left his wife of one year, Pattle, and their dog Matilda. In fact, he missed their one-year anniversary March 16.
According to his father Officer Bruckenthal went into the Coast Guard after graduating high school. He spent the first year on a coast guard cutter off Montauk Point before he was transferred for two years to Neah Bay in Washington.
"I had some Influence on him," Chief Bruckenthal said. "He was a little unfocused after high school. He realized it might be a good thing. I didn't think it would be a bad choice. He always had an affinity for law enforcement work and fire-fighting work." As his time in the coast guard came to an end. Officer Bruckenthal decided to continue his work and joined the TACLET team, not knowing that the move would send him to the Persian Gulf. Though he was scheduled to be deployed in September, he did not leave until the end of February. "You worry about your child," he said. "I worry about everybody's children and brother. The politics aside, you have to support these service people that are there. They're not playing politics. They are the ones enforcing our government's policy. I have nothing but 110 percent support for them.
Whatever can be done to get those people home with the least amount of casualties on our part is what I support. You have awful thoughts. I believe his strength lies In that he is with a unit that is very highly trained. You've got to retry on your strong points." Chief Bruckenthal told The Observer Tuesday that his biggest fear is how the troops will be treated when they return from war. "I also lived through the negativism of the Vietnam War," Chief Bruckenthal said. "I lost close friends In the Vietnam War. We misdirected our hatred for the war towards the service people that were fighting over there. It took us a long time to recognize the sacrifices people made In the Vietnam War. I certainly don't want to see that happen in this war. These are just men and women who are over there doing their jobs."