Decorated, wounded Marine treated 'shamefully' by TSA

Decorated, wounded Marine treated 'shamefully' by TSA

MArine Cpl Kemnitz and TSAWearing the uniform of the Few and Proud doesn’t quite cut it when the wearer comes up against those sporting the uniform of the Clueless and Undertrained.

The Military Times reports that retired Marine Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz discovered this troubling reality recently when his path crossed that of the members of the Transportation Security Administration at Sacramento International Airport.

Kemnitz, severely injured in 2004 in a roadside bomb attack in Fallujah, has limited use of his right arm and cannot lift it above his head. So when … TSA asked him to raise his arms above his head for the full-body scanner at Sacramento International Airport, he could not comply.

“My right arm doesn’t work. It’s a lot of hassle for me to do that,” Kemnitz explained. So screeners resorted to Plan B, examining under Kemnitz’s medals palpating under the Marine’s waistband, and swabbing his shoes for explosives.

Kemnitz ran into a similar situation at the state capitol, where he was instructed to remove his uniform blouse and again told security personnel that that his injuries made this seemingly simple task was next to impossible for him. An argument ensued.

Kemnitz’s escort, Patricia Martin, wrote about the incidents to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, asking rhetorically:

What does a uniform and heroism represent if our own citizens — in this case employees of the TSA and security personnel — have no regard for them? I feel so strongly that you need to know just how shamefully even a Purple Heart recipient/disabled veteran can be treated by some TSA and security employees.

This is not the first time the TSA has come under fire for its unconscionable treatment of a wounded veteran. In March, security personnel at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix ordered a double amputee to rise out of his wheelchair and walk. Following that incident, the TSA announced a policy change. Henceforth, it noted, injured troops would no longer be required to remove their shoes, jackets, or hats. But to receive the expedited service, TSA asks that affected personnel call the agency’s Military Severely Injured Joint Service Operations Center before traveling.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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