This holiday season is a time for rejoicing and it is only fitting that we culminate the year with good wishes for everyone. As we prepare to celebrate this season, we can take the time to appreciate all we have done here at Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region/United States Army Military District of Washington (JFHQ-NCR/USAMDW). I know you should be proud of your myriad of accomplishments this past year. As we join together for this holiday celebration, I extend my heartfelt thanks for your devotion to duty, and especially your Family's support and sacrifice.
During this time, the command will observe a liberal leave policy and may operate at reduce staffing levels, consistent with mission requirements and applicable regulatory guidance. Federal holidays are observed on 25 December 2013 and 1 January 2014, with 26 December 2013 and 2 January 2014 designated as curtailed operations. All members of this command should have the opportunity to enjoy the holiday season by maximizing time with their Families and loved ones. However, Commanders and Directors will ensure continuity of operations remain paramount.
Please realize you can give an extra present this holiday by giving more thought to safety. Unfortunately, a carefree attitude during this season can easily result in a serious if not fatal mishap. Nationally, more mishaps occur during the month of December than any other month of the year. For those traveling the highways; plan your trip to include adequate rest before starting, rest stops along the way, ensuring all safety devices in your vehicle are operational (to include seatbelts and their use), and above all, not exceeding one's own mental and physical limits by attempting to drive long distances in a short period of time. Additionally, be prepared for weather delays and changing road conditions. Better to be late than not arrive at all. Remember "Drinking and Driving Never Mix."
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 https://safety.army.mil/. This is a valuable tool that assesses the dangers and offers relevant advice to reduce risk - it can help save lives!
Please accept my best wishes for a Safe and Happy Holiday Season. We need everyone to safely return to duty, ready for another exciting year in 2014.
Jeffrey S. Buchanan
Maj. Gen. U.S Army