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SEOUL — The top U.S. Army officer in South Korea is cautioning soldiers to avoid the roads during the upcoming Chuseok holiday, when millions of Koreans return to their hometowns to celebrate the harvest season.

U.S. Forces Korea Gen. Walter Sharp stressed in a message on the command’s Web site that travel "is extremely difficult due to traffic jams on freeways and major rural routes."

In recent years, Stripes has reported as many as 70 million people on the roads during Chuseok weekend.

The three-day holiday will take place Sept. 13-15, though Sharp said Chuseok activities will extend several days before and after the weekend.

Sharp said the holiday, along with Labor Day weekend, would be a "well-deserved break" after the recent Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, but the long weekends could become "a time of immense tragedy" if servicemembers and their leaders do not make safe choices.

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