FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Regardless of the type of activities you may have planned for the holidays, remember to watch out for yourself and others. A simple way to do so is by applying the same risk-management techniques during your holiday activities as you do when you are on duty -- The Composite Risk Management Process.

It comprises five easy steps that will allow you to enjoy your Family and friends while staying as safe as possible. The steps are: identify hazards; assess hazards; develop controls and make decisions; implement controls; and supervise and evaluate.

For some of you, this may seem to be a little over-the-top, but I believe we can all agree that the best holidays are those that end safely. Safety must be a top priority!

Before you hit the highways and airways, I urge each of you to take the time to thoroughly plan your trip. A lot of risk factors are in our control, so we need to be smart and make the right decisions. Use your safety equipment, watch your speed, and avoid dangerous practices such as driving under the influence, texting and driving, and driving without adequate rest. All of these equally compromise your ability to drive safely. The U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center provides the Travel Risk Planning System TRiPS and other risk reduction tools at

A sound travel plan that includes contact information for your chain of command, an in-car safety kit, and fully charged cell phone is also one way to ensure your travel plans are secure. Also, safety kits should include a flashlight, jumper cables and first aid supplies. These items are necessities to have on hand while traveling.

I am counting on a safe return for all of our Soldiers, Civilians and Families.

During many holiday celebrations, alcohol is available. Do not turn a blind eye toward the dangers of irresponsible drinking. Drinking and driving is a dangerous combination. If you are 21 years old and consume alcohol this holiday season, have a designated driver.

Excessive alcohol consumption, traveling risks and even suicides are a concern during the holidays.

We need to be aware that during the holiday season historically there is an increased number of suicides. We need to look out for each other, for our battle-buddies, Family members and friends, and if we recognize potential warnings signs, reach out and help. Prevention information is available at If you have immediate concerns, contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Knowing these key safety tips can protect you and your Family for many holidays to come. We are strong as individuals, but even stronger as members of the Fort Jackson Family. Our community will remain strong because of our knowledge and readiness.

The success we have seen in the past year has certainly given us reason to be proud. It's a result of your hard work and dedication. Thank you for all that you do for Fort Jackson.

The Fort Jackson Family and I wish the best to you and your Families as well as a safe and enjoyable holiday season!

Victory Starts Here and Army Strong!

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