WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 10, 2008) -- Over the recent 4th of July holiday weekend, no active-duty Soldiers died due to off-duty activities.

This was the first time the Army has lost no Soldiers in off-duty accidents over the Independence Day holiday since it began keeping records in 1974, according to the U.S. Army Combat Readiness and Safety Center.

Brig. Gen. William H. Forrester, director, U.S. Army Combat Readiness and Safety Center, partly attributes the prevention of loss to good leadership.

"This reversal of a 34-year trend is a direct result of engaged leadership at every echelon."

The general said it was the application of composite risk management and good decision-making by Soldiers, Family members, civilians and battle buddies that allowed the Active Army to achieve a safety landmark on what he says is one of the most hazardous holidays of the year.

The general went on to say that it is engaged leadership that lays the foundation for a cultural shift. That, in conjunction with Soldiers taking personal responsibility for their own safety, will further drive down accidental losses.

"It is important for all of us in our Army to take a moment and acknowledge such a momentous milestone," Forrester said of the lack of accidents over the holiday. "However, we can not afford to rest on the laurels of our success and give accidents a chance to strike when our guard is down. We must always remain vigilant to preserve our nation's combat power, both on and off duty, if we want to continue to enjoy continued success."