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Shields calls for a safe Independence Day

By Army Maj. Gen. Michael Shields | USARAK commanding general | June 26, 2014

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — This Independence Day marks our nation's 238th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. As we reflect on the heritage and values of the United States, I would like to thank each Soldier, civilian and family member for the devotion to duty and the professionalism that protects our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The holiday weekend is a time to gather with friends and family to celebrate, but is traditionally one of the most hazardous weekends of the year. Plan your activities wisely and, as professionals, manage the risk of those activities. Responsible use of alcohol is an important consideration when engaging in any activity. Many fatal accidents and serious injuries occur because of the impairment of decision-making caused by alcohol.

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate, use common sense and watch out for others. Fireworks, swimming, boating, cycling and traveling all pose significant risks. Hazards that are not properly identified and controlled cause unnecessary accidents.

As leaders, we must be engaged at every level to influence the mindset that leads to safe behavior. I charge each of you with the mission of enforcing standards, sharing and applying your safety knowledge, watching out for each other, and working together as a team to ensure you and your loved ones' safety.

I would like to personally wish you and your families a safe and enjoyable
July 4.

Arctic Warriors, Arctic Tough and Be Safe!