FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and long weekend, I ask you to be vigilant in looking after the safety of your Family and your battle buddies. Pay attention to their nonverbal communication. Are they communicating signs of distress, or are they having a rough time with the holidays? If they are, please don't leave them alone. Escort them to their supervisor, first sergeant, commander or chaplain, so they can get the help they need.

Many of our military, Civilians and their Families will use the upcoming holiday weekends to travel outside the local area, visiting relatives and friends. Commanders and supervisors must ensure that our military members and Civilians are informed on the potential hazards during these long weekends. Commanders will conduct safety briefings prior to these holiday weekends, to include discussion on the Battle Buddy System, safe alcohol consumption, safety driving tips, fatigue avoidance, and seat belt usage at a minimum.

Now is a good time to remind ourselves how to reduce the risks of driving in winter conditions, hunting, home fires, home decorations and electrical conditions, and ice or snow-covered walkways. Commanders will ensure all Soldiers traveling outside a 150-mile radius of the installation, by automobile or motorcycle, use the Travel Risk Planning System (TRiPS) at mil prior to departing on pass or leave. Department of the Army Civilians are encouraged to use TRiPS to assess their travel plans for hazards.

Regardless of your holiday plans, please be aware of the hazards, take action to guard against them, and execute good safety practices. Every member of the Fort Jackson Family is a precious resource and a valuable member. In order to continue mission readiness, I want all members of the Fort Jackson team to enjoy the upcoming holidays and return to their homes and workplaces safely.

Victory Starts Here!