Expedited Screening Now Offered to Wounded Members of Armed Forces

Christina Gardner, retired from the United States Army, with service dog, Mox are escorted by Transportation Security Administration agent Michelle Pascale through the airport security checkpoint at Washington National Airport. Photograph courtesy of the Transportation Security Administration. Click on the photograph to view the official press release.

Apparently in response to the incident at a security checkpoint last week at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix where a corporal of the United States Marine Corps — who lost both of his legs as the result of the blast of an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan — was reportedly forced to remove both of his prosthetic legs, the Transportation Security Administration announced that it will offer expedited screening to severely injured military personnel at airports across the United States starting today.
In addition to offering curb-to-gate service, severely injured members of the armed forces of the United States will also be eligible to move through airport security checkpoints without having to remove shoes, light outerwear jackets or hats as part of the Wounded Warrior Screening program — and enrollment in the TSA Pre✓ expedited screening program is also offered to them as well.
Military personnel who qualify for this program must notify the Transportation Security Administration before departing on their trips.
The Transportation Security Administration denies the claim that the corporal of the United States Marine Corps was humiliated at the airport security checkpoint at Sky Harbor International Airport last week.
Meanwhile — in a completely separate story — FlyerTalk member jeff30189 recounts his experience from a recent flight to Portland from Minneapolis-Saint Paul:

“I have to give a big thumbs up to the guy with the 1B seat assignment last night who gave it up and traded places with the senior disabled Vietnam vet who was assigned to 10B. It was a very selfless act of kindness, and quite a few people seated in FC took note and made it a point to tell the FAs.
“The older gentleman boarded early at the “extra time” call, and I guess he just got distracted and took the first seat available. Or so he would have you believe…..
“When the rightful owner of 1B boarded, it was like “The Bookstore” episode of Seinfeld where Uncle Leo is shoplifting. ( I’m an old man. I’m confused! I thought I paid for it. What’s my name? Will you take me home?) Between gathering all his stuff, getting his cane and trying to remove his carryon from the overhead, I think the rightful owner just gave up and said “just stay here, I’ll take your seat in 10B”. Nevertheless, a nice gesture.
“Unfortunately, I happened to be chatting with older veteran prior to boarding. He’s as lucid and aware as anyone half his age. He had a paid coach seat and after 2 attempts (with separate agents) he was not at all happy that they would not move him to an EC row with more legroom (“no respect for veterans, they want $39, they should treat military with more courtesy, etc”). I didn’t have the heart to say “you want EC, you pay for EC”. Looks like he ended up getting it after all.
“So in that context, watching his Uncle Leo act took on an added level of amusement for me. To his credit he pulled it off. The guy who got downgraded back to 10B got some extra karma chips (and about 3-4 free drinks). Our disable Vet got to ride in first class on a coach ticket. And everyone else in FC got a feel-good moment.
“Looking forward to my AARP card a little more now….”

FlyerTalk members responded in anger and disbelief, calling the perpetrator a “con artist.” FlyerTalk member rbwpi — who proclaims to be a combat infantryman from the Vietnam conflict — says that

“…stories like this really irritate me. I feel that nobody owes me anything for the privilege I had of serving my country. Unfortunately, there is a small minority of veterans who blame their problems, etc., on their military service instead of their own short comings.”

Whether or not the person in question was really a disabled veteran of the Vietnam conflict, did he perpetuate a negative reputation for disabled veterans by doing what he allegedly did?

3 thoughts on “Expedited Screening Now Offered to Wounded Members of Armed Forces”

  1. chollie says:

    The article fails to emphasize that this service is only available to vets who email or telephone TSA with their itinerary ahead of time to arrange it.
    At the end of the puff piece, the author points out that the lucky Wounded Warriors are also eligible to apply for Pre-TSA via Frequent Flier status with a participating airline or by applying to a trusted traveler program.
    I guess nothing’s too good for our vets, especially the ones who have made the biggest sacrifices (short of the final sacrifice).

  2. Brian Cohen says:

    I am not sure I understand, chollie – I wrote the following in the article:
    “Military personnel who qualify for this program must notify the Transportation Security Administration before departing on their trips.”

  3. chollie says:

    How many vets are aware of this and know where to find the phone number or email to contact TSA ahead of time to benefit from this service? And why should it be necessary? Is TSA going to fly a team of specialists in?
    All TSOs working a checkpoint should be capable of treating wounded vets appropriately without requiring special advance notification.
    The article also fails to mention what criteria are used to decide a vet qualifies as ‘severely wounded’? I also don’t see any mention of retired, under-75 wounded vets – is this only for vets who are still on active duty?
    These seem pretty obvious points, but currently active duty military already have access to Pre-check. However, the day the vet separates from service or retires, he/she loses access to Pre-check and suddenly becomes less trustworthy. If the answers to these questions aren’t clearly spelled out, it will be up to the TSOs at the checkpoint to make up answers – just as they did in PHX.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.