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Military officials in South Korea are urging Americans to be cautious during the holiday season.

In a message to the U.S. military community this month, U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Walter Sharp warned that the holiday season brings an "increased time of risk."

"Excessive consumption of alcohol, domestic violence, home and apartment fires, changing weather, and suicidal behavior all combine to make this time of year particularly hazardous," Sharp wrote while urging leadership to take the necessary steps in mitigating servicemember risk.

Robert Daul, assistant antiterrorism officer for U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan, addressed the issue of travel, both on and off the peninsula, in a news release Wednesday.

"Be polite … remain low-key and become familiar with your surroundings so you will be able to detect the difference between normal and unusual activities," Daul said in the release.

Daul suggested that those wishing to explore their environs first visit the garrison’s Web site — http://yongsan.korea.army.mil/ — and select the "force protection" link.

He also suggested that people use the "buddy system," which the command can deem "mandatory during periods of heightened tension or increased threat," Daul said in the release.

Those traveling internationally should visit the U.S. State Department’s Web site — http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/safety/safety_1747.html — for safety tips and to register, according to the release.

E-mail the Korea bureau at:koreabureau@pstripes.osd.mil

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