Thanksgiving is a joyous tradition that allows us to reflect on the good fortune we enjoy as Americans. While our armed forces are engaged in war and our nation is undergoing tough economic times, there is still so much for which we are grateful. Americans across this great land will give thanks for you and for the work you do every day in service to our country. It is important that you know your hard work is appreciated, and I encourage you to enjoy the holiday with Family and friends.

Many of us will be driving long distances to spend time with loved ones. Unfortunately, increased traffic on the roadways, coupled with the fatigue that often accompanies the holidays, can be a dangerous mix. The minute you step into a vehicle, there is potential for you to become a statistic if you don't remain aware of your surroundings and use a great deal of common sense. Also, do not become complacent toward the other hazards surrounding us during this time. Excessive alcohol consumption, fall sports activities, domestic violence, unattended cooking, and suicidal behavior continue to be areas of concern.

In observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday (28 November), the U.S. Army Military District of Washington and Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region will operate at reduced staffing on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 and observe curtailed operations on Friday, 29 November 2013. As mission requirements permit, Commanders and Directors may decrease their normal staffing levels while ensuring continuity of operations throughout the Thanksgiving period.

I remind all Soldiers that use of the TRiPS on-line POV risk assessment tool is mandatory if on leave, pass, or TDY. I also encourage our other service members and civilian employees to use it. The TRiPs tools may be found at This is a valuable tool that assesses the dangers and offers relevant advice to reduce risk- it can help save lives!

As Laura and I enjoy this special time with our Family, we encourage you to reflect on the blessings of the past year, remember our comrades deployed far from home, and enjoy well-deserved time with Family and friends. By all means, have fun but use sound judgment. You are a cherished member of an elite fraternity; your country and your Army are counting on your safe return.

Major General Jeffrey Buchanan
U.S. Army Commanding
U.S. Army Military District of Washington
Joint Force Headquarters - National Capital Region