As we begin the countdown to Memorial Day and the traditional start of summer, I encourage leaders, Soldiers and Army Civilians at all levels to keep safety at the forefront of every activity, both on and off duty. This is historically the deadliest time of year for Army accidents, we must all do our part to keep one another safe.
Last fiscal year, 37 Soldiers died and another 17 suffered life-altering injuries in off-duty mishaps between Memorial Day and the first day of fall in late September. Of those fatalities, 30 involved driving or riding: 15 on motorcycles and 15 in four-wheeled vehicles, with drowning and accidental discharges of privately owned weapons rounding out the total. A quick review of the reports reflects that a majority of these accidents were due to a momentary indiscretion in decision-making and, therefore, wholly preventable. I know we can and will do better this summer.
To stay a ready Army, we must be a safe Army -- every day is critical in our fight against risk. I ask that you use the upcoming summer holidays and National Safety Month, observed during June, to enhance and refocus your risk management efforts for the months ahead. More information on both seasonal safety and National Safety Month is available from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center at https://safety.army.mil.
Whether you're a leader, Soldier or Civilian employee, safety isn't just important, it's personal. Think ahead. Build good decisions into your plans to live another day and enjoy all the fun summer has to offer. Thank you for the incredible job you do every day for our Army and our Nation. I look forward to working with you well into the future.
Army Safe is Army Strong!
HON Katherine Hammack
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy & Environment)