How do you spell fun? W…I…N

Commentary by Col. Tommy Roberts

50th Space Wing Operations Group commander

Let me acknowledge upfront that I grew up in a competitive family. How competitive? Well, a common question my dad would ask was, “How do you spell fun?” At an early age, I learned that expected response was “W…I…N!” While I realize there was an element of humor in my dad’s question and the expected response, I also knew there was a large element of truth to it. dad’s point was simple: Winning is fun and losing isn’t.

That point should never be lost on members of the profession of arms where losing is simply not an option. In our profession, we ultimately define “winning” by winners and losers. For example, the Allied coalition won Desert Storm and the Axis nations lost World War II. In day-to-day life, however, winning can be defined in multiple ways. Col. Brent McArthur, currently the 30th Space Wing vice commander, and I ran the Air Force Marathon in 2004. We certainly were not the first across the finish line that day, so I guess by sports standards we lost. However, we prepared properly and we pushed ourselves in the pursuit of excellence. As Airmen, our core value of “Excellence in All We Do” should frame our daily activities. It is our responsibility to pursue and achieve excellence. When we do, we individually and collectively win.

As a result of our nation’s commitment to winning and the Air Force’s commitment to excellence, we belong to the greatest air and space force the world has ever known. In fact, we are so excellent at what we do that most of our adversaries choose not to tangle with us. Most probably recall the story of Iraqi pilots during Desert Storm, who chose to eject from perfectly good aircraft opposed to engaging with our technology and our well-trained Airmen. That’s the level of excellence our nation expects of us, and should be the level of excellence we expect of ourselves on a daily basis.

We have the opportunity to show the Air Force Space Command Inspector General how excellent we are here at the 50th. Said another way, we have the opportunity to “win” an inspection. On the scoreboard that means an “Outstanding” rating, but winning will be achieved in multiple ways. We are already winning with our preparations. Our programs are being polished and we’re validating that our conditioning is in game shape. We will also win with our performance. We will prove, once again, that we are the best in the world at “command satellites to deliver decisive global effects.” Finally, we will win with our attitudes which will reflect our pride and our enthusiasm. That’s how we will win this inspection.

My dad was right; winning is fun. I look forward to not only “winning” this inspection but dominating it in a way that reflects the 50th Space Wing’s commitment to excellence. Soon the inspection will be in the rearview mirror, however now is not the time to let up. We owe it to ourselves, and our nation that depends on us, to sprint across the finish line. The hard work and the extra effort are going to be worth it. Celebrating our win at the Dec. 10 inspection out brief is going to be fun.

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