A wounded war veteran has described the moment security agents treated him like a ‘terrorist’ on a recent trip to California because he couldn’t raise his injured right arm in a full-body scanner and his dress uniform contained ‘too much metal.’
Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz was awarded a Purple Heart after he almost died in 2004 from an injury incurred from a roadside bomb in Fallujah, Iraq. The brave soldier recently traveled to Sacramento, California to receive another award as his district’s veteran of the year.
But, what should have been a celebratory experience was tainted when suspicious security workers at both the Sacramento International Airport and the California State Capitol Buildings subjected him to intense screenings and even ordered him to take off his uniform.
Because of the injury Kemnitz suffered in the blast, he can’t lift his right arm above his head, which has made getting through security lines increasingly difficult. ‘At some places I’m treated like royalty and at some like a terrorist. There’s got to be something in the middle,’ he said.
Screeners then continued to prod Kemnitz, looking under his metals, running their hands under his waistband and swabbing his shoes for explosives. His traveling partner, Patricia Martin, found the whole incident disturbing, and took pictures of the humiliating screening.
‘What does the 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 to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki about the incident.
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