The summer months are a time to be with friends and family, taking the opportunity to relax, travel and enjoy water sports and barbecues. It’s a chance to enjoy a break and recharge for the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Sadly, it is also a period of risk. Last summer, we lost 71 Service members, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, due to a variety of fatal accidents, with the preponderance of mishaps related to private motor vehicles or water sports. Many of these incidents could have been prevented with more aggressive trip planning to reduce fatigue, adhere to proper personal protective equipment standards or have a more moderated use of alcohol.
Our people are our greatest asset and we must encourage them to treat safety as an imperative and to manage properly or eliminate circumstances where they or others are put at risk. Please remind your team members about the importance of exercising good judgment and looking out for one another so we can ensure that summer is a safe and happy time for all. We must give our best efforts to keep our military and civilian personnel and their families safe.
As we soon begin the summer, I would like to offer personally my sincere gratitude for the outstanding accomplishments we have achieved and to extend my warmest wishes to you and your families. Have a fun, rewarding and safe summer.
Secretary of Defense