Search and Seizure by Tim Kennedy

Updated: September 23, 2009


This time last year I was in Afghanistan. Because of my unit I more often than not travel on civilian flights. I was carrying a blue American Tourister bag as my garment bag. I finished my tour in Afghanistan, packed my bags and caught a military flight home. All in all it was a great trip!

14 months later I pull the same blue American Tourister bag out of my closet, and throw in all the stuff I will HAVE to have for the fight. You know the necessities. I brought my fight shorts, mouthpiece, banner, suit, hat, weight cutting gear, and running shoes. Threw it all in my bag and headed off to the airport. Checked in, and checked my “would be nice to have bag” and headed up to security, and here is where the real adventure began. I have been an NCO for 6 years. I think I’m a pretty decent one, but today my brass and ammo check skills were lacking.

I took off my awesome cowboy boots, watch, pull out my laptop, and take off my jacket. I’m such a disciplined traveler. I hate those people that don’t know the routine. As my blue American Tourister carry-on passed through the scanner they stop it, and take a closer look. Then I hear them say to each other “you ain’t going to like this.” They informed me that they have to search my bag, which is fine or course. The TSA rep digs through every one of those little pockets, and pulls out a single 9mm round.

They asked me to step into the search room. After a thorough strip search they decided to “test” my bag for residue. Reminiscing that the last place my bag was used was in Afghanistan didn’t really bode confidence that my bag would come out clean. Needless to say it was not a surprise that it came back with explosive residue on it…

I showed them my military ID, and try to explain that it’s no big deal. Next thing I knew, I was surrounded by 4 TSA reps and a Fayetteville police officer. The police officer who was apparently in “special forces” looked at my ID and asked why I had a goatee in the photo, and then asked if the ID was real….. siiiggghhhh….

I’m now sitting at my gate B3 waiting for my flight.




  1. Joe

    September 24, 2009 at 8:32 am

    LOL. That’s awesome Tim. You should have just asked for the strip search and seen how well that went over. If it makes you feel any better they did that same residue check on my Assault bag that was used on numerous occasions to carry C-4, Grenades, Det Chord, 203 rounds, and Shrapnel from an IED. Needless to say I won’t be making that mistake again.

  2. Nate

    September 24, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Awesome Tim! If you’re walk into the ring looks a little funny, we’ll know to blame the TSA.

    This reminds me off the time I stepped off the plane in Germany and brought my assault pack with me. It’d been a few days since I shaved so of course I bring the shave kit and clean up in the bathroom. Well, once it’s time to board the plane to head stateside I get stopped by security and they make me dump my shampoo and shave cream. Annoying, but no big deal. Well, I take my seat on the lovely fold out jump seat and realize I’m thirsty. So of course I instantly go for a drink from the Camelback straw. Yup, I had to dump my shave cream, but my 100 oz bladder of water made it through security! The TSA makes me feel safer….

  3. Marla

    March 17, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    A few months after I got married I had fun time trying to get through airport security on my way to a training exercise. The guy in charge of coordinating travel booked me under my maiden name, and unfortunately since I’d been married for 3 months I no longer had identification with that name. That, coupled with the fact that my new last name is common in an area of the Philippines where we’re having problems meant I was marked for additional screening.
    That was great, seeing all my stuff swabbed for explosives. My hair dryer, really?!
    Even better was what I found in my bag a couple days later. I forgot I still had a 4″ Gerber folding knife in one of the pockets…it wasn’t hidden by any stretch of the imagination since it literally fell out of my bag while I was looking for something else. I can only imagine how fun my day would have been had the TSA agent found that.

  4. settles

    July 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    TSA…What a bunch of clowns.

  5. Nick

    July 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I have eeeeeveryone beat here. I recently had to fly from my home in Boise, ID back to Walter Reed to out process and retire nearly two years after I lost my left leg BK in afghanistan. I packed away my 2 knives that I always travel with, a 7″ bayonet style fixed blade that stays on my nightstand, and a 4″ ACU patterned folding blade that is usually in my pocket. Only my return trip I was going through the security check…
    Of course I set off the metal detector because I have a prosthetic leg. So i get the normal treatment, a cast scanner, swabbed for explosive residue, then i have to take it off and let them inspect it. Later on as i board the plane i slide all the way to the window so i can lean on the wall and fall asleep, but as my hip hits the armrest i get a sharp pain, look in my pocket and what do i find? my folding knife… They were so concerned with my prosthetic they didn’t pat me down or wand me, and inadvertently have made this plane the safest one in the air without a marshall on board. Keep up the good work TSA.

  6. Antonio Aguilar

    July 12, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    The last time I flew, the “random” screening pulled the four people out of line who wouldn’t be a threat; me (a soldier), my 100 pound wife who couldn’t overpower anyone, a guy with a broken arm, and a mother with a baby. Then, to make me feel even more secure, after a trip to Canada, my wife and I got detained at the border for about ten minutes for questioning. We each had military ID, driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, and social security cards. Apparently, that made us suspicious. I watched other cars cruise on by after a quick check of ID (remember, Canada has a huge number of Islamist terror cells operating in it) while a soldier and his wife are detained and questioned… de de de!

  7. Eric Hook

    July 17, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Better ending:
    A few minutes went by as they searched my bag. When they finally turned their attention back to me they found me now completely naked accept for my cowboy boots, legs spread with hands against the far war. Alleged SF Cop said, “SIR, WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?!!” Me, “Hey, I’m on kind of a tight schedule, so if we’re gonna do this thing, let’s get a move on. Also, I know I’m supposed to take the boots off too, but the thing is, if somebody’s going in my ass these babies are staying on.”

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