The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) wants to get the word out to severely injured military personnel that there is assistance for them at the airport – if they need or want it – an email or phone call will get this support in place.
Smoothing Security for Wounded
This special assistance is part of the TSA’s Wounded Warrior/Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center Program, and while it’s not new, TSA spokesman Nico Melendez wants to be sure that every member of the military who wants to participate knows about it so they can do so. Melendez, a naval reservist who served in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010, calls the program an effort to smooth the way through security for people who have already given so much. “Depending on our resources at a given airport,” said Melendez, “we might meet them at curbside, help them with their baggage, get them a boarding pass and escort them through security.”
Everyone, even ‘wounded warriors’ must go through the security checkpoint, but Melendez says they can “tailor the security experience” to the military member’s unique circumstances; for example, a greater degree of privacy may be needed during screening. And sometimes, as in the PreCheck program, a serviceman or woman may be able to keep their shoes on through the checkpoint.
How the Wounded Warrior Program Works
This program is open to active military personnel who have been severely wounded. It is detailed on the TSA website, but these are the highlights:
- Service personnel must first contact the TSA.
- Email (and this is the preferred contact): MSIJSOC@dhs.gov
- Phone: 888-262-2396
Participants will provide information on who they are and an itinerary of their travels. By the way, there is no threshold of injuries or wounds that must be must to qualify for participation in the program, said Melendez who added, “They know who they are, and we’ll be here to help them if they need it.”
Note: Those who have been wounded but are no longer in the militar y- or any civilian with disabilities and/or medical conditions – is invited to contact TSA Cares for help in preparing for the screening process.