Decorated War Vet Treated 'Shamefully' During Security Screenings: Report

Tuesday, 09 Jul 2013 07:11 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Retired Marine Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz, Purple Heart recipient and wounded war veteran, was treated "shamefully" by security personnel at the California state capitol and by the TSA when he went through airport security, reports the Military Times.

Kemnitz was told to take off his shirt at the California capitol because the medals on it were causing security problems, the Times reported. At the Sacramento International Airport, Transportation Security Administration members asked him to raise his arms above his head for the full-body scanner.

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Kemnitz, who was wounded in a bomb attack in 2004, can’t use his right arm well and couldn’t lift it above his head. The injuries made it difficult for him to comply with either security procedure.

Patricia Martin, who was with Kemnitz during the incidents, wrote to the Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to complain about how Kemnitz was treated.

“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?” Martin wrote, according to the Military Times.

Kemnitz told the Times that he wasn’t as upset with the TSA personnel as he was with the capitol security guard, who was “rude and unapologetic.”

Martin took photos to show people how “shamefully” Kemnitz was treated, the military newspaper reported.

The New York Daily News reported that Kemnitz said he was sometimes treated like a hero and other times like a terrorist. He’d like to see some middle ground.

The Military Times said other incidents like what happened to Kemnitz have made the news in recent months. Journalist Luke Russert tweeted about a military member getting extra screening when going through security at Reagan National Airport with a prosthetic leg.

A double amputee going through TSA screening at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix was treated poorly according to witnesses, who notified a California representative about the incident, the Times reported. When that happened, TSA changed regulations to do away with requiring injured troops to remove clothing items like shoes, jackets or hats. But to take advantage of that rule change, traveling military must notify TSA ahead of time, the Military Times said.

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