By Spc. Jason C. Adolphson (USAG-Yongsan)January 16, 2009
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - American and Korean Soldiers and Civilian Employees throughout the Yongsan area participated in the 14th semiannual "New Horizons" training program Jan. 15.
New Horizons is a Korea-wide assembly designed to provide a review of safety issues, cultural awareness, and conduct and responsibility.
"The Army Family requires a proactive safety culture for our Soldiers and Civilians," Juan Vazquez, U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan acting safety manager said during a brief at the Religious Retreat Center. "We must have a safety mindset at all times and integrate composite risk management 24 hours a day."
Due to the season, winter safety was a primary focus. The agenda consisted of driving in poor weather conditions, carbon monoxide poisoning prevention, cold weather injuries and drinking and driving, which went in accordance with an increase in driving under the influence incidents on Yongsan late last year.
Other local occurrences discussed were two pedestrian fatalities and motor vehicle accidents in recent months.
"Never give safety a day off," Vazquez said, citing a common slogan. "Use risk management to help weigh the benefits and costs of each risk, and plan ahead and make choices that prevent mishaps."
Hundreds more Soldiers and Civilians gathered at the Multipurpose Training Facility for a day of presentations and discussions about various issues. While safety took center stage, topics of professionalism, ethics and cultural awareness were also a large part of the forum.
"I want to reinforce the behavior we need to demonstrate to be ready to fight tonight and beginning your proud legacy of service here in the Republic of Korea," Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., 8th U.S. Army commander, said in his televised address to all military personnel on the peninsula.
"Soldiers are never off duty. Know the standards, live them and enforce them," he said. "KATUSAs and Korean servicemembers remain critical members of the United States Army team. They bridge multiple gaps - cultural, logistical and operational." Fil urged troops to absorb local resources to take in the Korean language and culture for maximized cohesion and self enlightenment.
Special Troops Battalion will conduct New Horizons training Jan. 23.
The New Horizons training program began in 2002 for all Army units in USFK. The down day for safety and cultural awareness training has helped to reduce accidents and enhance the Good Neighbor program, officials said.