Chapter Thirty-six: Sam Moves his Family to Washington D.C.

United States Capitol

Papa Sam, Sakura and baby Yua arrived into the newly renamed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport at 9:00 in the morning. Since they were new to the area and had heard that housing was quite expensive in the D.C. area, they opted for the on-base housing. Since the base  is the home, not only of  the 316th Wing but three other wings, the reserve 459th Air Refueling Wing, Air National Guard’s 113th Wing and active duty 89th Airlift Wing it is also the home of two Air Force One Boeing 747s, it has more housing options than his previous base in Japan. In fact, the officer’s family housing was actually quite nice.  They took  a taxi to the base after they collected all their luggage. The rest of their household items, furniture, and the vast majority of their clothes would arrive the following day and would be delivered to their base house. What was great about the military is that they not only packed everything they also unpacked all the large items.

Since Major Sam Anderson is going to be stationed at this base for the next two years, I think it is appropriate that I provide a little information on the base and its functions. The host unit at Andrews is the 316th Wing, assigned to the Air Force District of Washington. It is responsible for maintaining emergency reaction rotary-wing airlift and other National Capital Region contingency response capabilities critical to national security and for organizing, training, equipping and deploying combat-ready forces. The 316th Wing also provides installation security, services and airfield management to support the President, Vice President, other U.S. senior leaders and more than 50 tenant organizations and federal agencies.

The 316th Wing provides security, personnel, contracting, finance and infrastructure support for five wings, three headquarters, more than 80 tenant organizations, 148 geographically separated units, and 6,500 airmen in the Pentagon, as well as 60,000 airmen and families in the national capital region and around the world. The 316th Wing supports contingency operations in the capital of the United States with immediate response rotary-assets. It also provides security for the world’s highest visibility flight line and is responsible for ceremonial support with the United States Air Force Band, Honor Guard and Air Force Arlington Chaplaincy.

The base is widely known for serving as the home base of two Boeing VC-25 aircraft which have the call sign Air Force One while the President of the United States is on board. The Boeing C-32A, which is used by the Vice President of the United States, is also based at Andrews.

The host at Andrews is the 11th Wing (11 WG), assigned to the Air Force District of Washington. The 11 WG is responsible for maintaining emergency reaction rotary-wing airlift and other National Capital Region contingency response capabilities critical to national security.

Since Papa Sam had experience with refueling in not only at MacDill AFB but in the Gulf War, he was assigned to the 459th Air Refueling Wing as escort and protection detail.  He flew the  protection detail for the highly vulnerable refueling planes.  Even though it was a somewhat boring detail, it was by no means a dead-end position.  It was considered highly important because his Wing was also responsible for Refueling Air Force One, in case of emergencies.  He also served as a backup protection detail for the president’s fighter escort. His role was one you hoped would never be needed.  Because if his services were needed, it meant that Air Force One was under attack. In those instances, he was expected to sacrifice not only his plane but his life as well to save the leader of the free world.

This was one detail that he was not able to tell his wife about. The identity of not only the pilots in the president’s protection detail is guarded closely, but so is the identity of the backup pilots. If enemy forces were to discover the identity of these pilots, the safety of their families could be used as leverage against them. Imagine what would happen if the fighter detail turned on the president. 

As soon as Papa Sam and Sakura got settled in their new housing, they contacted  Grandpa Gordon and asked him if they could  put Peter on a plane to Washington D.C. They both felt that it was time that he got to know his new sister and stepmother. At Papa Sam’s behest, Sakura contacted her sister Ichika and asked her to move to the US. She had wanted to move to the US for years, and now she had a good reason, she could help her older sister take care of  both Yua and Peter. Since there were only three bedrooms in their apartment, Ichika would share a room with Baby Yua.

Ichika, Sakura’s younger sister.

Finally, after six months of teeth pulling and a mountain of paperwork, Ichika was in D.C. with a green card. Papa Sam is not sure how it all happened but it did. They made quite a nice little family unit. Papa Sam, Sakura, Peter, Yua, and Ichika, their live-in sister/nanny. Ichika was a godsend. She was able to take the kids out to the park to give Sakura a break so she could take English classes. While his wife spoke English pretty well, she felt that her command of the language could be better. She also wanted to learn to cook traditional American dishes, so she started taking cooking classes. She wanted Papa Sam to be proud of her, however she needed not to worry because he was crazy about her.

There was one problem that seemed to be cropping up a little too frequently for Sakura’s taste, and that was that her beloved husband seemed to be getting colds all too frequently. Each time he got one, the longer it seemed to take for him to get better. But other than that, they were doing pretty well.

Papa Sam was pretty happy with his assignment. At least he got to come home every night to his family. While their place was a little small, it was homey and cozy. Living in a cultural center like D.C. was great, however everything was just so damn expensive. Luckily for them, a lot of the museums were free for military personnel and their family members.

Then things started to unravel a little. The president and his cabinet decided that they needed to spend some time in Europe to bolster their Nato allies a little. Since he was part of the support detail he was included in the advanced team. This meant that he would be over in Europe for a while. He wasn’t happy with the timing either. He had just started feeling better, and now Peter seemed to have caught whatever bug he had and was now under the weather. He knew his family was in good hands with his wife and her sister there. Unfortunately, his faith would prove to be misplaced.