Three Guardsman removed from Sea-Tac duty

The Associated Press

SEATAC — Three National Guard sergeants working security at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport have been removed from guard duty while past arrests are investigated.

Criminal background checks run in recent weeks revealed arrest records the National Guard apparently missed for the three men and for a fourth sergeant who was not removed from duty, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

National Guard officials say their procedure for reviewing troops’ backgrounds is under review.

The Guard performed background checks, which included interviews and review of some state and national criminal records. None of the checks showed any problems that would bar the men from serving at an airport, National Guard Lt. Col. Rick Patterson said.

Sea-Tac did its own checks, running the troops’ fingerprints through the FBI’s National Crime Information Center. Those checks showed that three sergeants had been arrested for investigation of domestic violence.

It’s unclear whether charges or convictions resulted, said spokesman Bob Parker with the Port of Seattle, which operates the airport. Patterson did not immediately return a call seeking to determine the outcomes.

The fourth sergeant committed an unidentified Article 15 infraction, the least serious type of military offense, while serving in the Gulf War. Patterson said the breach was not deemed significant enough to warrant reassignment.

President Bush ordered the call-up of 7,000 National Guard troops to bolster security at the nation’s airports after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

About 700 airmen and soldiers out of 7,800 in Washington’s National Guard volunteered, Patterson said.

About 80 National Guard troops are assigned to Sea-Tac. Others are in Bellingham, East Wenatchee, Moses Lake, Port Angeles, Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Yakima. Bush last week called up another 2,000 Guard troops, 50 of whom will be posted in Washington state airports.

Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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