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Patriotic Article
Heroes and Patriots
By Navy Petty Officer Tracey L. Whitley

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Memorial Service Held To Remember Fallen Heroes
(April 30, 2011)

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MANAMA, Bahrain (4/28/2011) - Members of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard joined together for a memorial service held onboard Naval Support Activity, Bahrain to continue to honor the lives of three fallen U.S. service members, April 26.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal, 24, a Coast Guardsman damage controlman, of Smithtown. N.Y., Petty Officer 1st Class Michael J. Pernaselli, 27, a boatswain's mate, of Monroe, N.Y., Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher E. Watts, 28, a signalman, of Knoxville, Tenn., and were serving aboard USS Firebolt (PC 10) when they lost their lives after an unidentified dhow exploded while conductting a maritime interdiction operation, in the Northern Persian Gulf, April 24, 2004.
April 26, 2011 -- Lt. Richard Lee, chaplain, Destroyer Squadron 50, gives the invocation during a memorial service held for Petty Officer 1st Class Michael J. Pernaselli, 27, a boatswain's mate, of Monroe, N.Y., Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher E. Watts, a signalman, of Knoxville, Tenn., and Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal, 24, a Coast Guardsman damage controlman, of Smithtown. N.Y., who were killed in 2004 after an unidentified dhow exploded while participating in a Maritime Interception Operations, in the Northern Persian Gulf.
April 26, 2011 -- Lt. Richard Lee, chaplain, Destroyer Squadron 50, gives the invocation during a memorial service held for Petty Officer 1st Class Michael J. Pernaselli, 27, a boatswain's mate, of Monroe, N.Y., Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher E. Watts, a signalman, of Knoxville, Tenn., and Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal, 24, a Coast Guardsman damage controlman, of Smithtown. N.Y., who were killed in 2004 after an unidentified dhow exploded while participating in a Maritime Interception Operations, in the Northern Persian Gulf.
Vice Adm. Mark Fox, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, spoke during the event to more than 100 sailors and Coast Guardsmen in attendance.

"It is appropriate for us to take this time to reflect on the loss of three shipmates who walked the deckplates of some of the very same vessels we walk on today," said Fox. "Seven years ago, on April 24, 2004, right after dusk, USS Firebolt was conducting routine patrol duties northwest of Khor Al Amaya Oil Terminal [KAAOT] when two dhows were spotted near the platform. Firebolt, conducting what was a routine mission, sent a RHIB [rigid hull inflatable boat] manned by a crew of seven out to investigate. However, as the RHIB approached the dhow, it exploded, killing three and injuring the other four."
Fox closed out the ceremony by reminding everyone of how important it is to continue the legacy of those who have gone before them.

"None of us get to choose the environment in which we operate, that's chosen for us; however, we do choose how we operate and carry ourselves," said Fox.

"I think it's important for us to remember what it means to be a shipmate. We take care of one another, we train together, we build trust and these are the kinds of bonds that only come from sailors serving in difficult environments together, working toward a common mission."

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command's mission is to conduct persistent maritime operations to forward U.S. interests, deter and counter disruptive countries, defeat violent extremism and strengthen partner nations' maritime capabilities in order to promote a secure maritime environment in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

Article and photo by Navy Petty Officer Tracey L. Whitley
U.S. Naval Forces, 5th Fleet Public Affairs
Copyright 2011

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