A story involving a retired Purple Heart marine and the TSA is raising some eyebrows on the internet today.
Retired Marine Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz was recently selected as his legislative district’s veteran of the year. He severely injured his right arm in 2004 from a car bomb in Fallujah. The incident left him with extremely limited mobility in his right arm.
Like the rest of us, when Kemnitz flew into Sacramento he had to pass through TSA security checkpoints. He was wearing his dress blue uniform — medals and all — for the flight. When he went through the TSA metal detector, the alarm went off.
You would think TSA officers would see an injured war veteran and take it easy on him right? Wrong.
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The TSA officers stopped Kemnitz and told him he had too much metal on him. They proceeded to ask him to raise his arms above his head for a full-body scan.
“My right arm doesn’t work," Kemntiz said. "It’s a lot of hassle for me to do that."
The ordeal led to a heated discussion between Kemnitz, his escort and TSA officers. Officers looked under Kemnitz’ medals, patted him down and swabbed his shoes for explosives as other airport passengers watched.
Kemintz’ traveling companion, Patricia Martin, was so angered by the incident that she wrote a letter to Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
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“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?” part of the note said. “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.”
Kemnitz said security personnel at the California State Capitol bothered him just as much as the TSA officers did when he arrived to receive his award. After a long day of traveling and security checkpoints, Kemnitz just wants to see some consistency in the way he is treated.
“At some places I’m treated like royalty and at some like a terrorist," he said. "There’s got to be something in the middle."