TSA speeds airport screening for wounded soldiers

LOS ANGELES — Wounded soldiers and veterans can now go through airport screening gates without removing shoes, hats or light jackets, the Transportation Security Administration announced.

The TSA’s decision to ease screening for wounded soldiers comes about two weeks after the agency came under harsh criticism over the way TSA screened a U.S. Marine in a wheelchair at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

In the March 13 incident, critics of TSA say that screeners forced the Marine to remove his prosthetic legs and then put them back on to walk through a full-body scanner.

After investigating the incident and reviewing video of the Marine’s screening, the TSA said the Marine was not asked to remove his prosthetic legs and that the screening took a total of eight minutes. The Marine, Cpl. Toran Gaal, has not filed a complaint or claim against the agency, the TSA said.

TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said the new procedure has been in development for a while and was not created in response to the Phoenix incident.

In the past, wounded soldiers were allowed to move to the front of the screening line but were still required to undergo the same screening procedures as other travelers.

Under the new procedure, wounded soldiers and veterans who contact the TSA before arriving at an airport ( msijsoc@dhs.gov or 1-888-262-2396) will be escorted from the curb to the screening gates. The TSA will confirm the identity of the travelers using a U.S. Department of Defense database.

The soldiers won’t be required to remove their shoes, hats or light jackets during screening. TSA agents will then escort the soldiers to their gate.

The TSA pointed out that more than 10,000 veterans work for the agency and that the two agents who screened the Marine in Phoenix were both military veterans.

More in Local News

Turkey talk: Kindergartners explain the Thanksgiving holiday

Our annual pilgrimage led us this year to Pathfinder Kindergarten Center in Everett.

Police locate suspect in Snohomish River after he fled

They used a thermal-imaging camera to locate the man in the water near Dagmars Marina.

Electrical fire on roof of Marysville school extinguished

There was no apparent structural damage to Cascade Elementary School.

As police closed in, 2 heavily armed pot-shop robbers fled

Cops surrounded the place in Mountlake Terrace. The suspects were tracked by dogs and apprehended nearby.

Hiker rescued on Boulder River trail after 15-foot fall

She was reported to have possible leg and rib fractures.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

Snohomish County Council passes a no-new-taxes budget

The spending plan still funds the hiring of five new sheriff’s deputies and a code enforcement officer.

In Sultan, there was a seat at the table for everyone

Every year, the town’s community dinner ensures no one has to dine alone on Thanksgiving.

Most Read