Transportation Security Authority scanners repeatedly treated Purple Heart recipient Retired Marine Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz “shamefully” as he traveled through the Sacramento International Airport on his way to be honored as his district’s veteran of the year at the California state capitol, the Military Times reports.
Kemnitz, who was severely injured in a 2004 roadside bomb attack in Fallujah, cannot raise his right arm above his head. Even so, a TSA employee insisted that he raise his arms for the full body scanner, and security screeners at the state capitol required he take off his military uniform top “because he was wearing too much metal.”
“My right arm doesn’t work. It’s a lot of hassle for me to do that,” Kemnitz told the Military Times.
The TSA security scanner continued by examining underneath of the retired officer’s medals, swabbing his shoes for explosives, and even running his hands under Kemnitz’s waistband.
Kemnitz’s escort, Patricia Martin, took photos so that the public could know “just how shamefully even a Purple Heart recipient/disabled veteran can be treated by some TSA and security employees.”
“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?” she wrote to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
Kemnitz commented that while at some places he is treated “like royalty,” at other places he is treated more “like a terrorist.”
“At some places I’m treated like royalty and at some like a terrorist,” Kemnitz said. “There’s got to be something in the middle.”