YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (Dec. 14, 2012) -- The Eighth Army commanding general thanked U.S. Soldiers in South Korea for their contribution to defending freedom on the Korean Peninsula and maintaining stability in Northeast Asia.

In a Dec. 14 message, Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson praised American Soldiers for their many accomplishments during the past year and encouraged them to stay safe during Korea's frigid and snowy winter months.

Johnson also called on Soldiers to look out for one another.

"While the holidays are a time for celebration and reflection, they are also a time of increased risk and can be a very stressful time," said Johnson. "We all need to look out for our fellow Soldiers. If you or someone you know is having difficulty coping, call for help. It takes courage and strength to reach out for help when you need it."

The Eighth Army commanding general told Soldiers to plan for their holiday activities with safety in mind.

According to the South Korean press, Seoul is experiencing the coldest early December in more than 56 years. Early winter snow has already blanketed Seoul and the mountainous countryside, causing work delays and school closures here on Yongsan Garrison earlier this month.

"Keep safety in your plans and prepare for unforeseen emergencies," said Johnson. "Evaluate the risks involved with all of your holiday activities, especially those involving alcohol. Consider your loved ones and your Army family with every decision.

"Simply put, plan ahead and look after one another," said Johnson.

Johnson concluded his message by thanking U.S. troops for their efforts during the past year and wishing them a happy holiday season.

"I salute you all for your hard work to safeguard liberty on Freedom's Frontier," said Johnson, "and your continued efforts to strengthen the [Republic of Korea-United States] Alliance."