June 28, 2012

Celebrating our Nation’s birthday; Army Safe is Army Strong!

By Maj. Gen. Gregg Potter
Commander, USAICoE and Fort Huachuca

In 1776, our forefathers banded together to begin an experiment in democracy that few predicted would evolve into our Nation today. Through the 236 years since, American Soldiers have selflessly and courageously defended our liberties. My most sincere gratitude goes out to all the Soldiers and Families who have sacrificed so much for the continued blessings of freedom we so gratefully enjoy; your service and patriotism ensure freedom will reign for all Americans and for generations to come. Let us always remember the brave souls who have defended this great Nation throughout history but moreover may we never forget those who stood and fought for this Nation during the more trying times when we gallantly sought victory. I thank you all for your dedication and sacrifice.

As we celebrate this Independence Day, we must not forget two of the fundamental elements of our profession—responsibility and discipline. Safety is a vital part of both. This responsibility includes looking out for not only yourself, but also your buddies. Set the standard by wearing your seat belt, following posted speed limits and using the appropriate personal protective equipment. Designate a driver or call a cab when your plans involve alcohol, and take the keys when your friends need an intervention. Driving a privately owned vehicle is still the most dangerous activity you can do this summer, and with more of us hitting the highways and taking well-deserved vacations we must ensure we take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Don’t forget that outdoor activities like swimming, hiking and camping require a thoughtful, yet simple, risk management plan. Being responsible and disciplined means taking a few moments to think about the hazards associated with your planned activities and being prepared to ensure the best possible outcome for yourself, your Family and our Army. Be prepared, plan ahead and always incorporate safety into your holiday activities.

With the sweltering heat already being felt by many of us, it’s hard to believe we’re not even halfway through the summer. The climbing temperatures underline the importance of good hydration, ample sun protection and vigilance against wild fires. Remember, the use of consumer fireworks is strictly prohibited within the Sierra Vista city limits; this includes the Fort Huachuca installation. Given the extreme dry conditions throughout the entire state, it is necessary to prohibit any use and/or activity that would introduce the chance of sparking a fire. Those who would like to enjoy a fantastic fireworks display can check out the free Independence Day celebrations at Veterans’ Memorial Park on the Fourth of July. The City will host a variety of events for the whole family starting at 7 a.m. and finish with a spectacular fireworks finale.

However you choose to spend this Fourth of July holiday, please play it safe and remember the Nation is depending on your safe return. Thank you all for what you do every day for our Army and our country. I wish each of you a very happy Fourth of July! Always Out Front!

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