Happy holidays! This is a joyous time of year and one that reunites family and friends. Patti and I hope you have a chance to enjoy this special time in your own unique way. We wish each other and every one of you a prosperous new year. As we reflect on our blessings, I ask each of you to remember our many deployed service members serving far from home and just as importantly, the loved ones who are missing them.
This season marks 92 years of holiday celebrations at Fort Benning. Henry Lewis Benning would be proud to see how this installation has grown and has become one of the best Army installations in the world. I value each and every member of this Fort Benning team, so my message to you this holiday season is for you to enjoy this time and return safely to us. We need each of you on this team and, just as importantly, your family and friends need you in their lives. While the holidays bring joy, for many they bring additional stress. With that in mind I encourage you to stay focused, exercise caution, and be considerate of others. Please do not let stresses or fatigue impair your judgment.
Something to keep in mind is the Safety Cab program which operates 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. nightly through December 31. This is a free program sponsored by St. Francis Hospital, Fort Benning, and several local businesses. It is a combined effort to reduce the number of DUIs, traffic accidents, and fatalities associated with drinking and driving. And, the combined effort needs to include each of you. I urge you to use this free service. If you are out and need a safe ride home, don’t hesitate to call (706) 660-6069. Let’s keep our Soldiers in our ranks, call Safety Cab.
If you are traveling, consider the following precautionary measures:
Expect increased security at airports. You need to allow time for check in and to get through various security check-points.
Carry picture identification with you. However, try to avoid using military identification when traveling internationally.
Do not leave bags or luggage unattended. It may sound strange for this time of year, do not offer to carry bags for strangers.
Keep your carry-on luggage light and store it under the seat in front of you.
Watch for heavy items that may be stored over your head.
Pack medication or special dietary items in your carry-on bag.
Wear proper clothing for your destination’s climate.
Soldiers who are planning to travel more than 100 miles from Fort Benning have to complete the Travel Risk Planning System (TRIPS) at https://crcapps3.crc.army.mil/ako_auth/TRIPS/register/aspx. Each Soldier’s leader will review the plan, counsel as necessary, and document assessment.
In closing, I want you to remember—our enemy is terrorism and our goal is freedom and dignity for all. So as you gather with your family and friends, please don’t forget your brothers and sisters-in-arms standing guard today. This season we celebrate and thank those who keep our freedom safe. It takes personal commitment and involvement of everyone as a team to make a difference. I ask each of you to do your part, consider the risks, and make the right decisions. See you in 2011. One Force, One Fight!
Maj. Gen. Robert B. Brown,
MCoE and Fort Benning Commander