It has been 520 years since Christopher Columbus landed in the New World. Columbus Day marks the anniversary of this discovery. This visionary explorer led a courageous fleet of ships on an uncharted quest to find a trade route to Asia. Amidst potential mutiny, mechanical failures, and considerable self doubt, he chose to inspire and persevere. His fortitude and resilience began a century of exploration by seafarers to discover new lands and people. That spirit, to boldly seek adventure and explore the unknown, continues today. It has taken us from the depths of the oceans to the plains of Mars. His safety and the safety of his crew was far from assured as no one knew in the 15th Century what lie beyond the horizon. As you embark on your planned Columbus Day festivities, make safety your watchword.

This first holiday weekend of the Fall season, is typically accompanied by cooler temperatures and usually provides our first glimpse of the upcoming winter. This year's Fall Safety initiative, "Know the Signs" campaign, is designed to heighten awareness of seasonal risk factors and providers leaders and Soldiers the tools they need to address safety issues in their unit and peer group. The risk signs are all around. It is up to you to recognize unsafe situations and behavior and to act to mitigate the risks. The "Know the Signs" campaign, including tools and resources, is available at the Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center website, at

Leaders, be proactive and brief your Soldiers, civilians and contract employees on the hazards appropriate for the area and weather conditions. Also, prepare your people now for winter risks and hazards. Winterize vehicles, conduct preseason inspections of heating units, test/replace smoke detector batteries, drain gas from yard tools, and check and insulate water pipes if necessary.

Our future is deeply rooted in our past and we will continue on voyages of discovery. Voyages of scientific discovery will serve as the catalyst for the development of new medicines and technologies. Your dedication and professionalism continue to make us "Army Safe and Army Strong." Please enjoy a safe holiday weekend.

Serving to Heal…Honored to Serve!