Command Sgt. Maj. Hector Marin
U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and Aberdeen Proving Ground Senior Enlisted Advisor

The holiday season is here and it's time for an overview of responsibilities. As Soldiers, we are mission focused. But people-focus needs to be a priority too. As members of one team -- Team APG -- we must always look out for each other.

Taking care of our people is a concern during this time of year. Each of us may celebrate the holiday season in our own way and use the time to pause, recharge our energy, reconnect with family and friends and reflect on the accomplishments of the year.

I encourage you to not leave anyone out.

Leaders must develop an open, supportive environment where Soldiers and civilians can contribute, develop and succeed.

When we talk about a people focus, I mean caring about the people at your side. No one should go it alone. Regardless of your particular mission, the burden will be less if we seek partnerships and work together.

Many say the holiday season can lead some people into depression. This is serious. One of the problems in today's Army is the record number of suicides.

Each of us must be alert and remember the acronym "ACE." It stands for Ask, Care and Escort. If you observe your buddy, coworker or Soldier acting irrationally or depressed, have the courage to ask the question. Actively listen and show that you understand. Never leave your buddy alone. Escort him or her to the chain of command if you suspect a potential problem.

The Army is battling this problem head-on because it's the right thing to do. We take care of our own.

Contrary to popular belief, American suicide rates actually decline during major holidays; however, the Army is unique. We have a different set of circumstances involving extended deployments, dangerous missions and a pace of combat operations that may stress our people. When you mix in feelings brought about by the holiday season, it may reach a boiling point. We must be vigilant, always.

During this holiday season, stay safe and celebrate responsibly. If you drive, don't drink. If you drink, be responsible and ensure you have a designated driver. The last thing anyone wants to see is your name on an accident report. So, look to your left and to your right and take care of each other. Don't become a statistic.

This has been a great year. All of us on Aberdeen Proving Ground have seen a major transformation on the installation. There are new buildings going up and new organizations reporting for duty. It's an exciting time to be part of Team APG.

We have momentum. That's something all successful organizations share: Forward Movement. As we look back on where we've been we can be proud. Aberdeen Proving Ground Soldiers and civilians form a cohesive team with common vision and goals.

We look forward to an even better year in 2011. From my family to yours, have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Army Strong!

Page last updated Thu December 16th, 2010 at 00:00