A black bullet proof limousine screeched to a halt in front of Air Force One. All seven of the secret service agents who formed a perimeter around the huge gray and white aircraft carried an aura of nervous alertness. With their weapons drawn, they each took turns barking the word "clear" into the microphone tucked in their jacket sleeves. Before the seventh man gave the all clear, the front doors of the limousine popped open and two agents sprang from their seats. The all clear was given, the back door of the limo was yanked open, and President Ted Wallace was manhandled from the seat to the tarmac and up the stairs into the VC-25A Aircraft. The door was dogged shut and the staircase was removed, but the engines never started and the aircraft didn't move an inch.
A moment later the door to Air Force One opened, and the man dressed in a wig meant to look like the President of the United States emerged. He paused as the Secret Service Agents waited his command.
"That was pitiful!" the agent dressed as the president barked as he swung the aircraft door in on its hinges. "Roll that staircase back and we'll run it again." Three agents pushed the staircase back to the aircraft as two mechanics watched from the landing gear area.
Technical Sergeant Remy Bittner straddled the rear tires of the landing gear as he finished his maintenance on the up-lock actuator. "How many times are they going to run that drill?" he asked clearly annoyed.
"Don't slip, there's a lot of oil on these tires," Staff Sergeant Carol Kolojay warned him as he handed down the last wrench.
"I'm not an idiot, Cooljay," Remy snapped back as he began to step down. Despite her warning, he slipped off the tire and cracked his head on the edge of the inner landing gear door. Carol tried to catch him before he dropped three feet and hit the hangar floor.
"Damn!" Remy yelled as he jumped up and promptly hit the other side of his head on the fuselage and fell to his knees. He crawled free of the aircraft and stood, slowly uncurling his six-foot-two frame. Carol Kolojay, his coworker and sometimes best friend, laughed as she slid the toolbox away from the landing gear, and several of the secret service agents shook their heads until their boss scowled to get a move on. Remy dragged his feet across the hangar floor leaving a small trail of oil in his wake.
Hangar 19 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland was proudly part the Presidential Logistics Squadron under the Air Mobility Command. The unit was charged with Presidential and Diplomatic transport, and was Technical Sergeant Bittner's second home. Once an unsure boy from the plains of Iowa, he had joined the Air Force at eighteen years of age. He didn't show much promise in his first year on the flight line at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma, and his peers were sure he would sign up for the "early-outs" promised by the president at the time, who was again promising to cut the budget. Remy was the typical dorm rat party animal in those days, stuck somewhere amongst the dust and tumbleweed of the southwest. He joined the military in the wake of Desert Storm, and the Air Force had been far from what he had expected.
But within a year of floundering, it was as if a light switch had been flipped on and Remy was suddenly on top of his game. He went from wandering around the C-141 Starlifter, the C-5A Galaxy, and the new C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft wondering if he'd ever understand his supposed specialty of hydraulics, to seeing in his mind's eye how everything worked. A heated debate with his trainer over the workings of a master brake valve opened Remy's eyes to the entire aircraft. Every door opened at once, and he felt as though he'd been struck by lightning as he walked the C-141 that night seeing the inner workings of the flight controls and landing gear in his head.
The sudden soar in his learning curve and Airman Remy Bitt