On Monday, America will celebrate Columbus Day: a holiday commemorating Christopher Columbus' landing in North America 521 years ago. He was an inspired leader and a visionary. His quest began a century of exploration to discover our great Nation. His spirit to seek adventure and hunt for the good stuff continues today, in our Soldiers, Army Civilians and Families who help the Installation Management Command enable a ready and resilient Army.

As you plan your Columbus Day activities, make safety your vanguard.

With this first, long holiday weekend of the fall season, we will have the opportunity for travel and recreational activities with family and friends. The overall health, welfare, and safety of the IMCOM Family is my first priority. Whatever your plans may be, put safety first and commit to preventing on- and off-duty accidents this Columbus Day holiday weekend.

As we near the end of the year, hours of daylight get shorter. Plan trips to minimize travel in darkness, and use tools provided at https://safety.army.mil/povmotorcyclesafety/ to plan a safe driving experience. If you are driving or riding on two or four wheels, get plenty of rest prior to travel, plan adequate rest stops during trips, make sure your vehicle is in good condition, and ensure everyone wears their seat belt.

On long weekends, such as this, as Family and friends enjoy cookouts and go out to dinner, the consumption of alcohol often increases. Inevitably, abuse of alcohol is a contributing factor in automobile and motorcycle crashes. Please drink responsibly, and do what's right.

Now is also a good time to start thinking about winterizing your vehicles. Many accidents are due to the operators' failure to adjust their driving to the dangerous conditions during winter months or the occasional failure or malfunctioning of equipment. Be proactive in making sure you are ready for winter's woes.

Whether your plans include driving to watch the sunrise over the Alaskan mountains or hitting the beach in Florida, or camping with the Family in the Rockies, CSM Rice and I hope you enjoy a safe and accident-free holiday.

Look out for each other. Live well, eat healthy, increase your fitness, and rest and relax. Together, we can save lives and stay ready and resilient, and Army strong!

- LTG Michael Ferriter, Commanding General, U.S. Army Installation Management Command