Over the coming weeks many Soldiers and their Families will travel to various destinations around the country to share this joyful season with loved ones.  Unfortunately, the holiday season can also become tragic when we lose Family members and friends to needless accidents and events.  I would like to express my concerns regarding the safety and well-being of our Soldiers and Families over this holiday season.

As Leaders, we must be concerned about the increase in suicides, alcohol abuse and domestic violence incidents.  Leaders at all levels must do everything possible to prevent these incidents.  The holiday period is a time of increased risk, with added stress for Families, single and married Soldiers separated from loved ones and individuals who may have experienced a recent trauma or loss.  Use our professional resources such as ASAP drug and alcohol substance abuse counselors, the Soldier Family Support Center, Chaplains and Mental Health Providers for assistance with counseling, information and other needs during this holiday season.

Leaders at all levels will be involved with the holiday plans for each of their Soldiers.  I expect leaders to review holiday plans and use the resources available to assist our Soldiers in making sound and safe decisions.  In an effort to prevent accidents and fatalities over this holiday all military personnel will complete the following with assistance from their unit leadership:

Receive an end-of-duty day safety briefing from unit Commanders and first sergeants prior to being released for the holidays.  This will include POV/Motorcycle safety, alcohol and DUI prevention, travel safety, weapons safety, fatigue, off-limits establishments and other off duty safety issues as appropriate prior to being released for holiday leave.  Additionally, winter driving hazards such as black ice and vehicle survivor packs, Fort Bragg road conditions and delayed reporting procedures will be discussed. These must not be routine holiday safety briefings – they should be done in the spirit of teaching, coaching and mentoring.

Complete the TRiPS travel risk planning system prior to any travel beyond 150 miles.  This risk assessment is available at https://safety.army.mil/.

Conduct POV/Motorcycle safety inspections.  This inspection will be conducted by our 1st line leadership on this installation.

Update battle buddy rosters and review battle buddy responsibilities with each Soldier.

Conduct and revalidate the requirements  / counseling on the Installation Motorcycle Policy.

Beth and I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season.  We ask those who can to share their good fortune with our personnel who cannot make it home for the holidays and with the Families of those deployed.  Remember, the Army is all about people taking care of people.  Please enjoy a safe, blessed and happy holiday season.