BYDGOSZCZ, Poland - In the United States Army, Soldiers and leaders are expected to conduct themselves based on the acronym, LDRSHIP; Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless service, Honor, Integrity and Personal courage. As U.S. Army Soldiers travel overseas in support of DEFENDER-Europe 20, these Army Values are even more important as service members introduce themselves to local populations not accustomed to seeing or interacting with U.S. forces.
Washington, Missouri native, ammunition specialist and 17-year Army veteran, Master Sgt. Robert Burton, is part of the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command's support operations section.For the second time in his career, Burton is in Poland, but this time in support of DEFENDER-Europe 20 after arriving here earlier this month.
On Feb. 12 as he walked back to base, Burton saw a serious traffic incident happen right before his eyes."I witnessed a van swerving through traffic out of control," Burton explained. "I saw it go up on the sidewalk and crash through the metal fence outside the hospital."Without thinking of his own safety, Burton ran across the busy intersection with a couple of Soldiers from Poland, and rushed to the scene of the accident.As the driver was being pulled out of the vehicle in bad shape, Burton noticed people across the street yelling, screaming and pointing, and Burton finally saw what they were trying to alert him to."That's when I noticed the legs of a person sticking out from under the van wheel," Burton said.The vehicle inadvertently struck a pedestrian as it veered out of control, and Burton acted quickly after the discovery."Myself and four others grabbed under the side of the van and lifted it," Burton said. "We continued until we were able to lift and push the van on its side and off of the pedestrian."Believing the woman was alert, Burton knelt beside her and spoke to her looking for a response. After her pulse was checked by someone next to Burton, it was determined the pedestrian unfortunately did not make it.
Burton then assisted with the driver who was alert now and stayed at the scene until the ambulance arrived.Although he was not able to save the pedestrian, Burton is glad he reacted to the situation."I think any of our Soldiers would have reacted in order to save a life," Burton said. "I would react the same way if another life or death situation occurred."Burton's selfless service and personal courage were on display on a global scale, and Col. Andrew Danwin, the 13th ESC's SPO officer-in-charge, couldn't be any prouder of his Soldier."He rallied the Polish observers to lift the automobile off the pedestrian," Danwin said. "Master Sgt. Burton overcame the language barrier and the horrific scene to render aid and his actions reflect those of a dedicated Soldier."