Marine claims humiliation by Sky Harbor TSA agents

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- TSA is changing its policy on screening wounded and disabled military veterans following an incident at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

A group of disabled Marines was flying home to California after a week at Spring Training games in the Valley when they say they were mistreated by TSA agents.

One of them is wheelchair-bound and asked not to be identified. An agent had the Marine take both prosthetic legs off for screening. Later, he was asked to put them back on and walk through the body scanner.

The former Marine acting as the group's escort called it embarrassing and humiliating for the 22-year-old man who lost both legs in Afghanistan.

"The guy just had his legs blown off. He's medically not in condition to do these things," Jim Phillips said. "It's embarrassing to be told to stand when you cannot stand. The TSA doesn't get it."

TSA officials said the two agents involved are both former military themselves and did not intend to embarrass the Marine.

"You certainly don't prove it by treating disabled, active-duty military like terrorists," Phillips added.   

The TSA has guidelines for screening Wounded Warriors and says they will now expand.

"TSA works to facilitate the screening of injured and wounded service members with dignity and respect. Through its Wounded Warrior Screening program, TSA strives to make the overall experience for wounded service members as simple and trouble-free as possible. In the coming days, TSA will expand the Wounded Warriors Screening program to offer TSA Pre?™, or expedited screening, to this group of veterans," TSA officials said in a statement.

"The proof will be in the pudding," Phillips said. "When we go through screening next time, I'd like to see them treated with respect. That'd be the greatest thing that ever happened."