What did you do for the Fourth of July weekend last year? Stay home and stay safe? Stew over the health protection conditions your area commanders implemented? Still manage to down some dogs and Bud Heavies despite the pandy?

U.S. Coast Guard Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Gerrod J. Britton spent that Sunday saving lives. Kinda makes your potato salad seem meh by comparison.

Britton received the Coast Guard Commendation Medal in May for his bravery last year.

Stationed at Coast Guard Station Murro Bay, California, Britton was off duty and driving on Highway 101 on July 5 when he came across a vehicle crash in the northbound lanes, according to his medal citation posted to the unit’s Facebook page.

Britton pulled over, called 911 and started sussing things out. It was a grim situation.

“The vehicle was overturned and resting on its roof with three male occupants still inside,” the citation states.

Crew from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro captured a sub in the Pacific carrying 16,000 pounds of cocaine in June 2019.

Britton quickly pulled two of the men out of the vehicle and to safety, but the third man was injured and trapped in the wreckage.

To make things worse, the car had caught fire.

“Without regard to his own personal safety, he and an additional bystander were able to lift the unstable vehicle onto its side,” the citation states. “This gave him the small amount of room needed to extract the incapacitated man through a broken window, mere second before the car was fully engulfed in flames.”

Britton pulled the man away from the blaze as it grew into a brush fire.

He performed CPR and attempted to staunch the victim’s bleeding until paramedics arrive.

While it is unclear what happened to the injured man, the citation lauds Britton for his efforts.

“His actions during this tragic day were not only heroic, but are the embodiment of our core values,” the citation states.

Bravo Zulu, Coastie!

Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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