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Viewpoint: How will you be remembered?

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Approximately 174 years ago, a tired, bedraggled warrior facing insurmountable odds broke down and wrote a letter to his boss. In the letter, Col. James Bowie exhaustedly wrote, "We will rather die in these ditches than give it up to the enemy."

Flash forward to today and we trumpet the words "all in." You may have heard Gen. Norton Schwartz or Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Roy recently state, "We're all in." But what does this mean to today's Airmen?

"All in" has its roots in poker tournaments. When one goes "all in," it means the player has all their chips in the pot. Everything is riding on the hand. It's "do or die" time. Professional poker players push all their chips into the pot when they believe the cards in their hand are the best. The move is a bold statement and it sends a message to the others that the player "all in" is committed to seeing the hand through to the end.

Asked about the Air Force's commitment to the conflict in Afghanistan, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Schwartz has declared, "The Air Force is all in." The boss is committed to sending Airmen into the fight to secure Afghanistan's burgeoning democracy. By stating "we're all in," Gen. Schwartz has proclaimed, "We will rather die in these ditches than give it up to the enemy." He is committed to seeing the United States' effort through to the end.

Closer to home, the 460th Space Wing finds itself fighting its own battle. Wing members are working long hours preparing for the upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection and Unit Compliance Inspection. The importance of the inspection is obvious. We must be able to validate and prove we are battle-ready, regardless of the circumstances we confront. To pass the ORI/UCI we must be "all in."

Rumor has it that some have given up hope or have simply walked away and quit. This is unacceptable. In the middle of the ORI/UCI preparations it may seem we are facing insurmountable odds, but I assure you we must be "all in" and be willing to see our efforts through to the end. To that end, everyone must be committed to the inspection preparation effort and work these long, seemingly insurmountable, hours in the same manner as Colonel Bowie when he wrote, "I would rather die in these ditches than give it up to the enemy."

Airmen and NCOs, tonight when you go home, take a moment to reflect and ask yourself if you are "all in." Remember back to a time more than 174 years ago, when the tired warrior, asked himself those very words as he, pondered if he was "all in." In 1836, Colonel Bowie was facing certain death at the Alamo. In the face of these insurmountable odds he wrote the famous words, "I would rather die in these ditches than give it up to the enemy" to his boss, Governor Henry Smith. Shortly after penning his letter, his ragtag army unit was overrun during the Battle of the Alamo. Colonel Bowie, American hero, was "all in." How will you be remembered?
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