A retired, disabled U.S. Marine in full dress and donned with numerous medals was flagged by federal security agents at a California airport for wearing “too much metal,” and pulled to the side for additional scrutiny — even asked to lift his arms, despite an injury that made doing so impossible.
“What does a uniform and heroism represent if our own citizens — in this case, employees of the TSA and security personnel — have not regard for them?” said Patricia Martin, the former Marine’s travel partner, Fox News reported.
Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz was injured in 2004 from a bomb in Iraq. He can’t lift his arm above his head, MilitaryTimes.com reported.
He was en route to the California state Capitol building for a ceremony to honor him as veteran of the year in his legislative district and wearing full uniform for the occasion, when he was stopped by Sacramento International Airport security officials for “too much metal,” Fox News reported.
Transportation Security Administration officials asked that he lift his arm for a full-body scan — but he couldn’t.
“My right arm doesn’t work,” he told security scanners, Fox News reported. “It’s a lot of hassle for me to do that.”
Ms. Martin vowed to write to Veterans Affairs to express her outrage.
“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,” she said, in a statement reported by Fox News.
TSA, meanwhile, issued this statement, citing their treatment of Cpl. Kemnitz was standard procedure: “Our intent is to treat all injured service members and veterans with the dignity they deserve. As always, all passengers with disabilities and medical conditions are eligible for screening procedures sensitive to their particular disability, medical condition or other unique medical circumstance.”