Wounded Marine says TSA treated him like 'terrorist'

Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz upset over 'disrespect'

Published On: Jul 10 2013 08:12:04 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 10 2013 08:26:16 AM EDT
Marine: TSA treated me like terrorist
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -

A wounded Marine who was heading to a ceremony in his honor claims he was mistreated and disrespected by Transportation Security Administration agents and Capitol security.

Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz was left with limited use of his right arm after being injured in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq in 2004. He cannot lift his right arm above his head.

The attack also caused Kemnitz to lose his eyesight in his right eye.

The California veteran was scheduled to be honored for his service at a ceremony in Sacramento.

When he arrived at the Capitol building, Kemnitz was told to remove his jacket because of his Purple Heart and other military medals.

After explaining to the guards why he could not take off his jacket, Kemnitz says the Capitol security guard argued with him and demanded he remove the jacket.

"At first, I was a little shocked and then it went to ridiculous," Kemnitz told CBS affiliate KCBS. "It's almost like they wanted to make a show, like, 'We will search anybody -- we don't care.'"

Patti Martin, a Veterans Resource Center worker who was traveling with Kemnitz, says the security guards never asked for a military ID to verify he was a veteran.

"They took him to the side, and the way they were patting him down, it was so obvious -- as if he was a potential terrorist," Martin told KCBS.

Martin says he experienced similar embarrassment when he went through Sacramento International Airport. He claims TSA screeners "hassled" him because he couldn't raise his hands for a full-body scanner.

The TSA released a statement to KCBS, saying the agency recognizes the sacrifices of members of the military. Agency leaders plan to speak with Kemnitz to "ensure his future travels are as simple as possible."