Every November, Americans pause their work, school and other activities to honor the service of our Nation's veterans. Defense of this great Nation and our freedoms is a calling that requires perseverance and sacrifice like no other, and it is only fitting we take this day to honor our men and women in uniform, both past and present. We are proud to serve alongside you.

As we begin the countdown to the long weekend, it will be especially important for first-line leaders to engage their Soldiers on off-duty risk management. Simply asking, "What are your plans?" gives leaders a prime opportunity to get to know their Soldiers and what their individual risk factors might be. With more than half of all fatal, off-duty private motor vehicle mishaps occurring between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, and with nearly half involving speed, fatigue, alcohol or failure to wear seat belts, it is imperative that we incorporate informal counseling sessions in our overall safety programs. These conversations may not be easy or outside our comfort zone, but they are well worth the effort. We can save lives and prevent senseless loss by showing our Soldiers we care about and appreciate them.

Thank you for what you do every day for our Army. We wish you all a safe and happy Veterans Day.

Readiness Through Safety!