MG H.R. McMaster

On this Independence Day, we celebrate the birth of this nation and the freedoms we hold dear -- freedoms that the brave men and women of America's Army protect.

As it was in 1775, our Army is an all-volunteer force. I want to thank all of you and your Families for answering the call. Your work at the Maneuver Center of Excellence is critical to sustaining our Army's combat effectiveness. You are true professionals and I wish you and your Families a happy Independence Day.

We should celebrate this holiday as we commemorate the founding of our great nation. We should also recognize the sacrifices of those who have come before us and remember our fellow Soldiers who are serving around the world, especially those serving in combat in Afghanistan.

As we enjoy the holiday, I ask that you be vigilant when it comes to safety. We need you. Please recognize and manage risks associated with activities like boating, swimming, fireworks and grilling outdoors.

Commanders and directors will conduct pre-holiday safety briefings. But what is most critical is for everyone to think safety and manage risk.

Some keys to ensuring your safety include:

•Arrive alive. Never drink and operate vehicles, watercraft or motorcycles. Plan ahead for a designated driver when drinking is involved. There is no excuse when it comes to drinking and driving.

•Prevent fires. Have an emergency plan and equipment when grilling. Please leave the fireworks to the professionals. Fort Benning is planning a huge Independence Day celebration with fireworks Saturday.

•Plan ahead. If traveling outside the Fort Benning and Chattahoochee Valley area, all Soldiers have to complete a Travel Risk Planning System report, which can be found online at

•Prevent heat injury. Heat-related injuries are the result of overexposure to the sun and high temperatures. If you are planning to be outdoors, drink plenty of water and limit your activities during periods of extreme heat and high humidity.

•Practice motorcycle safety. All motorcyclists must wear personal protective equipment. In addition, motorcyclists must obey the posted speed limit signs. Do not attempt risky maneuvers.

We are committed to teamwork, discipline and protecting our greatest assets -- our Soldiers, Family members and civilians. Let's work together to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Independence Day.
One Force, One Fight!

-- Maj. Gen. H.R. McMASTER,
Fort Benning commanding general

Page last updated Wed June 27th, 2012 at 09:12