We can’t afford to lose ‘bubble’

HURLBURT FLD, Fla -- I’m an American.

As such, I have a predisposition to want to win.

Whether I’m playing pick-up basketball at the health and wellness center, dodge ball against a fellow unit, poker with my brothers, videogames with my children or just watching my favorite NFL team on Sunday, I love to win.

Not so long ago, the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team, nicknamed the “Dream Team,” fought and won a gold medal. They dominated.

Since 1992, the sport’s popularity has exploded internationally, and you’re now likely to see more foreign names on a NBA basketball court than in a NHL hockey rink.

The world took note and other teams prepared to fight and win.

In 2004, we didn’t just lose the games, we lost “the bubble.”

At the time of the original Dream Team, the United States had just carried out a convincing joint campaign in Iraq.

Hearts swelled with pride in our armed services’ ability to fight and win – we dominated.

Ten years later, our special operations forces demonstrated the same in Afghanistan – we’re still fighting and winning.

Countries around the world have taken note, preparing themselves. This is a game in which we can’t afford to lose “the bubble.”

We don’t know what the other team is going to throw at us, which is why we have to be ready. We practice and prepare, over and over, to get it right and improve with every step along the way.

We’re starting 2006 with a series of operational readiness exercises to exercise and test, and prepare to answer the call.

Don’t believe for a second that the upcoming operational readiness inspection is “the call”– it’s all part of our preparation. It’s our fight.

When aircraft swarm like Florida’s love bugs over Hurlburt Field, that’s when we’re called on to win. Airmen fight to win. Otherwise, why fight?

We only get the prize when we win, and we can only win when all three of our Aimpoints are heeded. One fails, all fail – and ours is a no-fault, no-fail mission.

Our country demands domination, from sports and uniformed heroes. Whether palletizing cargo or pulling triggers, flying aircraft sorties or driving your wingman home safely, we can’t win – let alone dominate – unless we’re all committed to doing so.

So, whatever you’re doing, get into it.

Palletize that cargo like your increment is in competition with every other chalk; prepare your personal readiness folder like it’s an annual award package; physically train like a medal awaits you at the finish line; care for your people like they’re your own sons and daughters.

A short, wise, old man once said, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

It’s said if you sit at a poker table and can’t spot “the fish” in the first five minutes, chances are you’re it. Look at your wingmen.

Who fights to win?