The countdown to the holidays and what is sure to be a busy 2019 for our Army has begun. Whether you're celebrating at home with family and friends or doing our Nation's work far from familiar comforts, please know we are grateful for you and appreciate all you do every day. Thank you.With extended time away from work comes greater exposure to off-duty hazards. Private motor vehicles are an obvious concern, especially as Soldiers will be looking to maximize their driving time and socializing opportunities during exodus. Leaders should be counseling their Soldiers on the insidious nature of speed, fatigue and alcohol, helping them plan ahead for long drives or nights out.While not as highly visible as PMV mishaps, incidents involving privately owned weapons may increase during the holidays. On average, the Army loses three to four Soldiers every fiscal year to unintentional discharges or other firearms mishaps off duty. More than half of past incidents involved alcohol, and the vast majority occurred in private housing. Lack of muzzle awareness, Soldiers deliberately pointing the weapon at themselves or someone else, and mistaking a loaded weapon as unloaded all are cited numerous times in these mishap reports. Again, counseling - even simple conversations - can help a Soldier think through his or her risk and make better decisions.By looking out for our Soldiers and one another, we can ensure everyone makes it back from the break and ready to start the New Year. We wish you all a joyful and safe holiday season.Readiness Through Safety!