by Ryan Labadens, U.S. Navy Public Affairs

For two Sailors with Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center (ECRC) Detachment BRAVO here in Gulfport, the concept of service goes well beyond just helping their fellow Sailors prepare for deployment.

On Aug. 7, 2020, Logistics Specialist 1st Class Duane Burnette and Equipment Operator 2nd Class Nicole “Cole” Fielder assisted the driver of a single-car accident in Gulfport, Mississippi, attending to him until first responders arrived at the scene.

Early that morning on their way to the Seabee base, Burnette and Fielder were driving behind a pickup truck traveling west on Highway 90 in Gulfport when the truck lost control and rolled into the median dividing the west- and east-bound traffic. The truck then sideswiped a tree and hit a light pole, which caused it to slide into the inside traffic lane.

“Luckily no one else was involved in the accident when he stopped in the oncoming lane,” said Burnette.

After the truck came to a halt, Burnette and Fielder stopped and helped the driver out of his vehicle, trying to calm him and getting him to sit down. The driver – an older gentleman who was by himself in the truck – mentioned he had been feeling dizzy and light-headed when he lost control of the vehicle, and was now having sharp pains on his right abdomen and trouble breathing. Burnette continued to talk with the driver to help him remain calm while Fielder called 911 for medical assistance.

“There was a fire department right at the next intersection, so they got there pretty quick,” said Burnette.

Burnette and Fielder remained with the driver until the other first responders arrived. Fielder provided her contact information to a police officer who arrived on site, describing what they witnessed until medical personnel arrived to attend to the driver. After the officer took down Fielder’s information, Burnette and Fielder were told they could leave, at which point the Sailors continued on their morning commute to the Navy base.

As members of ECRC Det. BRAVO, which was stood up at NCBC Gulfport in May 2020, Burnette and Fielder serve as part of a team of Navy reservists responsible for processing all the administration, medical and training documentation necessary for Navy personnel deploying through NCBC to other destinations. They are also responsible for taking care of Sailors’ needs while they are under COVID-19 14-day restriction of movement (ROM) status throughout the deployment process, which includes providing the ROM Sailors three meals a day and checking their temperature and making sure they don’t have any COVID-19-related symptoms that could prevent them from deploying.

Senior chief constructionman Tom Salmon, ECRC Det. BRAVO ROM and field ops coordinator, commended the two Sailors on taking the initiative to stop and help the driver.

“These two teammates are so dedicated to service that it’s automatic, so I really was not surprised that they stopped to help,” said Salmon. “Given the fact that they’re serving so many ROM’ed Sailors during the week, you can clearly see their commitment to service.”

Burnette commended Fielder for her part in calling for assistance and serving the driver during his time of need.

Editor’s Note: ECRC Det. BRAVO is a detachment of ECRC Norfolk Naval Base, Virginia, which provides administration, training, equipping and transportation for all Navy individual augmentee personnel and also manages the mobilization of reserve component Sailors returning to active duty. Its mission is to provide oversight of the processing, equipping, training, deployment, in-theater support and re-deployment of over 6,500 Sailors in non-traditional, non-naval expeditionary missions in support of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).