Living Memorial for Robert Smith Jr


Submitter’s Name: Robert Smith Jr.
The Service Member’s Name: Robert Smith Jr.
Branch of Service: U.S. Coast Guard
Rank: Commander (O5)
Military Job: Maritime Safety Officer
Unit: Various
Hometown for Service Member: Houston, Texas
 I was awarded the Global War on Terrorism Medal – one I am very proud of. I spent the days following 9/11, boarding every cargo ship coming into New York Harbor to ensure the safety and security of the Port of New York / New Jersey and to ensure the people of the New York City were secure. Later, I helped commission a brand new anti-terrorism unit Maritime Safety Security Team (MSST) 91104 in Galveston that deployed to every United States Coast Guard (USCG) District in the United States providing force protection at military load outs, G8 summit meetings, UN meetings, etc. Coasties stand the watch domestically to ensure the safety & security of the United States. I worked on the Houston Ship Channel in 3 different assignments, protecting the safety, security and environmental quality of the Port of Houston.

Other Coast Guardsmen staff Port Security Units that deploy with the US Navy to set up Port Security in foreign ports (US Navy Fifth Fleet) and Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETS) or Tactical Law Enforcement Units (TACLETS). Their job is to board and secure foreign ships on behalf of the US Navy in foreign waters, because it is a Coast Guard mission and the US Navy does not have the expertise to understand maritime commerce and/or merchant ship general arrangements.

DC3 Nathan Bruckenthal, USCG, was killed in action at the Khawr Al Amay Oil Terminal off the coast of Iraq on 24 April 2004. He was killed in a terrorist-suicide bombing when a dhow ( a small wooden boat used to transport cargo) that he and his team intercepted near the terminal exploded. The explosion overturned the boarding team’s rigid hull inflatable, killing Bruckenthal and two U.S. Navy sailors. Another Coast Guardsman, BM3 Joseph Ruggierio, and three other Navy personnel were wounded. Both Coast Guardsmen were members of LEDET 403, which had been deployed as part of Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. The team was attached to the USS Firebolt (PC-10). DC3 Bruckenthal was the first Coast Guardsmen killed in combat since the Vietnam War. Remember his family and friends in your prayers.