Decorated, wounded Marine treated ‘shamefully’ by security screeners

Retired Marine Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz was subject to extra TSA screening because he was wearing 'too much metal.'Military Times – by Patricia Kime 

Wearing the uniform of the Few and Proud doesn’t rate preferential treatment from the Transportation Security Administration or California capitol security officers, retired Marine Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz recently found.

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 security guards at the state capitol building in Sacramento, Calif., asked him to remove his dress blue blouse “because he was wearing too much metal,” and 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,” Kemntiz said.

At the state capitol, the Marine’s refusal to remove his uniform top grew into a heated exchange between Kemnitz, a friend who was accompanying him and security officers.

At the airport, bystanders stared as the TSA security screener looked under Kemnitz’s medals, ran his hands under the Marine’s waistband and swabbed his shoes for explosives.

“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?” wrote Kemnitz’s escort, Patricia Martin, to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki following the incidents.

Martin took photos and disseminated them to family, friends and members of the media.

“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.

Kemnitz said after the incidents that he was not as annoyed with TSA officers as he was with a security screener at the California state capitol, whom he described as rude and unapologetic.

Kemnitz was visiting the building to be honored as his legislative district’s veteran of the year.

“At some places I’m treated like royalty and at some like a terrorist. There’s got to be something in the middle,” he said.

The incident was not the first to spark similar outrage. In January, NBC journalist Luke Russert tweeted his irritation at an enhanced security screening at Reagan National Airport of a troop wearing a prosthetic.

“Making Wounded Warriors with prosthetic legs go through extra explosives screening. #fail,” Russert wrote.

In March, bystanders notified Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., about what they perceived to be maltreatment of a double amputee by TSA screeners at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport.

Concurrent with that incident, TSA announced it had changed its rules to eliminate a requirement that injured troops remove their shoes, jackets or hats. But to receive the expedited service, TSA asks affected personnel to call the agency’s Military Severely Injured Joint Service Operations Center before traveling.

TSA also offers escorted “curb-to-gate service” for injured or ill personnel who request it as well as the TSA Pre program to service members with a military common access card at four airports: Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and Washington Dulles International Airport.

The Senate Sergeant-At-Arms is responsible for security screenings at the California capitol building. No one was available Friday to speak with the media regarding the incident.

10 thoughts on “Decorated, wounded Marine treated ‘shamefully’ by security screeners

  1. The Pot is boiling over……….I wonder when it will be that a returning home VETERAN goes off on one of these Bastages and beats him to a pulp……..with a hope and prayer…the crowd will keep the LEO’s away while the VET does the deal…..

    Well FOCK I can dream cant I ?

    1. 🙂 yes oldvet, we all got our own way and they will not know up from down when we ” ALL” act out on them bastards

  2. And the TSA’s rationale would be, “Hey, how do I know he’s a real marine? It could be a terrorist dressed up as a marine with a bomb or some explosives hidden inside his clothing. I think I saw it in a movie once.”

    What do you expect from child with a toy badge?

    1. Aw man NC, they just want to grope him and get off on their fantasies ya know and they will use any excuse to do so. They are all a bunch of perverts and they know it. They think that it is OK and they think that because of that that it is aceptable. We allow it and they think that it is aceptable so they do it. People shouldn`t put up with this crap and they should do something about it if they are going to go for it or quit bitchin`, ya`ll know what I`m sayin` don`t ya`ll?

  3. There were all kinds of well-deserved complaints about hippies giving returning Vietnam vets a hard time, but I think it’s a lot worse when it’s done by the government he was serving.

    He should have used his good arm to break that son-of-a-bitch’s jaw with a nice upper-cut.

  4. I would not feel anything if sombody blew all these fucking TSA and bullshit security personell full of holes, this crap is getting ridiculous.
    Time to slay this dragon nefore it grows more heads.

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