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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — On Monday, Oct. 11, we will observe Columbus Day as a federal holiday. During the long weekend, we encourage you to reflect upon our nation’s history, the history of our military and our Army Profession and values.

The onset of fall in the Ozarks provides an opportunity for each of us to enjoy the outdoors or to relax with friends and family. Activities that can be enjoyable — such as hunting, using recreational or water vehicles, riding motorcycles, or even taking a short trip — come with risk. If you plan to travel near or far, inspect your vehicles, buckle up, and ensure all in your care do the same. Ensure that you and those in your care have the proper and required training; use required safety equipment including safety belts, life vests, and helmets; and follow all laws and regulations. Remember that alcohol use in any activity increases risk for accident, injury, and harm.

We all have the responsibility to drive undistracted, to drive sober, to drive safely without speeding, and to pay attention. In Missouri, over half of distracted driving fatalities also claim the life of another person, and cell phone-related crashes have increased 30% over the past several years. In this geographical area, this time of year, be especially watchful for wildlife on the move near roadways in mornings and evenings.

Continue to know those in your care and to your left and right. Continue to expand trust and make every person feel part of the team. Given our mission requirements and given the change in seasons and approaching holidays, staying connected remains incredibly important. Never leave a teammate behind.

We thank you for your leadership and are very proud to serve with you!

Victory Starts Here…Victory Through Skill!