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Fight and win: Failure is not an option

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Ted Fordyce
  • 16th SOS commander
Fight and win, aimpoint number one. It's first because we are at war, and winning wars is our business.

The Global War on Terrorism has presented some significant challenges to our nation's Armed Forces and the 1st Special Operations Wing is no exception. This war is not defined by nations or fronts. The enemy is not in a uniform, he blends in with those around him and lurks in the shadows of concealment.

He's guided by moralities completely foreign to our own. We would like to think this enemy is in some far off land, that we can bring the fight to him, win the war and come home.

This is not the case. This war on terrorism truly is global. To fight and win this war we must realize that there is no rear or garrison that we can return to and "reconstitute."

We're at a steady state of war and the time has come for us to realize that we are all in this. Failure is not an option.

We must be careful not to allow ourselves to find a false sense of security while we are home inside the wire. We can't fall prey to the habits and standards that we used to prepare for past wars and conflicts. We are involved in an unconventional war and must utilize unconventional tactics. We must continue to push forward and develop new skill sets that keep us ahead of our enemy.

These new skill sets are not developed by senior leadership; these are the skill sets that are brought about by the operators on the battlefield. We must empower these warriors to keep making tactical level decisions and then capture their ideas and best practices so they can be taught to those who will be next.

Whether it is an operator in the air or on the ground, a maintainer on the flight line, or a medical technician assigned to a ground team, all of these warriors have a great sense of what works and what doesn't in today's war.

To fight and win this war we must manage our resources for a long and drawn out fight. This includes our most precious resource, our Airmen. We must do all we can to afford them the opportunity to recharge while at home so they can give us their very best while deployed. We need to set a manageable pace and duration for our combat deployments.
The team we have assembled for today's battle is one made of the very best our nation has to offer. We must build on that team for tomorrow. Fighting has never been a problem for America.

As Gen. George Patton said, "Americans love to fight; we love the sting of battle." He was also quick to point out that America hates to lose; the mere thought of it upsets our stomach.

I'm inclined to agree with General Patton -- in today's war, losing is not an option.

We will fight and we will win!