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

Live in Edmonds? Hate speeders?

Edmonds has $35,000 to address local residents’ concerns about speeding in their… Continue reading

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Police looking for Lynnwood bank robber

The robber did not flash a weapon to the teller at a U.S. Bank.

Employee threats caused lockdown at Arlington elementary

Arlington Police said all students and staff were.

Sirens! Flashing lights! — Move over!

We are a confident bunch on what to do when we hear… Continue reading

Marysville quits fire-department merger talks

Mayor Jon Nehring notified Arlington of the decision in a letter dated Jan. 10.

Everett marchers: ‘There’s too much to protest’ for one sign

About 150 people joined the “March to Impeach” from the waterfront to a county courthouse rally.

Jayme Biendl, 34, was a correctional officer at the Monroe Correctional Complex in Monroe.
In testimony in Olympia, dozens urge abolition of death penalty

But others said it shouldn’t be eliminated without putting it before the voters.

Food stuffs for a local chapter of A Simple Gesture at Fitness Evolution, the communal pick-up point, in Arlington on Jan. 12. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
In it together in Arlington

A new program makes it more convenient to collect items for the food bank.

Most Read