Monday, July 2, 2007

Why put people through hoops? Because they can...

What about all the hoops we have to jump through just to board an aircraft? - Fixer, in the post just below this one.

The following is a letter to the editor in the July Leatherneck - Magazine of the Marines. The link is 'read only' so I had to type it, but I wanted you to see just how stupid these airport 'security' pogues can be.

[Marines Should Take Careful Note When Traveling In Uniform

As an American civilian, I feel very safe flying in the United States. Our airports have strict guidelines, which are carried out every day.

A young United States Marine went to board a flight [New Orleans International Airport, Gate 6A, at 5 a.m. for U.S. Airways flight #2238, scheduled to leave at 6:02 a.m., May 8] dressed in his service alpha uniform, as stated in his orders. He went in line and received his boarding pass and handed in his luggage. With his orders and identification card in hand, along with his carry-on bag, the Marine stood at the entrance of the gate to go through security.

The uniform he was wearing is the official uniform of the United States Marine Corps. It has many metal pieces keeping it straight and tight. It has metal clips in the collar and on the tie. It requires straps that keep the shirt tucked down into the trousers that connect all the way down to the socks. There are metal buttons, dog tags and any ribbons and badges earned pinned to the uniform.

The Marine was early for his flight, yet he did not get through the metal detector after removing most of his uniform. He was made to sit down and wait for the entire line of people to pass through security before a search was done on him. He stood in humiliation as many walked by and stared at him. Anyway, they then rudely spoke to him and patted him down. They finally took a handheld device to scan him.

After waiting 30 minutes for all other passengers to pass through and then another 15 minutes of searching, the Marine was finally allowed to go on to his flight. There were only a few minutes before his flight took off; he was far from his gate; and he had to re-dress himself and to proceed so as not to be late for his next post. I am not sure if he made his flight, but it took 90 minutes to put this uniform together and put it on the way it is supposed to be. The humiliation and anger was all over the Marine's face, but he kept his composure.

I do not understand why this happened. He had official U.S. Government orders in hand as well as his ID. If this is how it has to be, then the U.S. Government needs to provide airlines with trained security guards who are familiar with the uniforms the government wants military personnel to wear. Should they be flying from a base to a base? Should they be harassed like this? I am asking for answers to how this could happen and what we can do to make it better and easier for our military men and women to fly without delaying their orders.

I am that Marine's mother. How could this happen?

Theresa Remel
Baton Rouge, La.

Mrs. Remel later e-mailed us saying that her son arrived 7½ hours later than scheduled. He did not face any penalties because his recruiter called his unit well in advance of any potential problem. She further wrote "The commanding officer at my son's base was informed of the incident" and is looking into it. - Sound Off Ed.]

I suspect a little exaggeration in the amount of time it took this lad to reassemble his uniform, but mothers do that.

I fully realize the necessity to search people. I personally volunteer to strip search tall big-titted Nordic types to see if their chachabingoes are full of Semtex. I'll leave it to someone else to search the wheelchair-bound granny's catheter for fuel-air explosives or boxcutters. These things are necessary, dammit, but putting that young Jarhead through this kinda shit is just plain chickenshit.

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