Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ostracised in Oakland?

Michelle and the Kossacks are in a duel over what looks to be a ligit email from Chaplain Brandon Harding on Marines basically being put in a holding pen en route home from IRQ to Hawaii. Follow the links above for the background - but as of SUN afternoon, I think the letter from the Port Spokes"person" makes the the story ligit to the Kossacks chagrin - so we can get past the "hoax" or "noise reduction" threads; here at least.
Marines and Soldiers Returning from Iraq not allowed into Oakland terminal. On September 27th 204 Marines and soldiers who were returning from Iraq were not allowed into the passenger terminal at Oakland International Airport. Instead they had to deplane about 400 yards away from the terminal where the extra baggage trailers were located. This was the last scheduled stop for fuel and food prior to flying to Hawaii where both were based. The trip started in Kuwait on September 26th with a rigorous search of checked and carry on baggage by US Customs. All baggage was x-rayed with a "backscatter" machine AND each bag was completely emptied and hand searched. After being searched, checked bags were marked and immediately placed in a secure container. Carry on bags were then x rayed again to ensure no contraband items were taken on the plane. While waiting for the bus to the airport, all personnel were in quarantined in a fenced area and were not allowed to leave.
Speaking of the letter, I think the answer is more in the middle. A big fan of Ockham's razor, I think the correct answer is more like a bureaucratic don't-give-a-damnism mixed in with a bit of lack of clue. Nothing dark or full of spittle, just gov'munt in inaction.

I know, you would think six years into this war major hubs and those in charge of contract air would have figured it out. Me, no - I am not THAT much of an optimist when it comes to California liv'n gov'munt Functionnaires (Marilyn Sandifur in this case).

Check out this logic from the Functionnaire Sandifur in Michelle's post that explains why this happened - one that would not have passed muster in every other war - and that only a bureaucrat would love.
The airport received information that the passengers were not TSA-screened at their originating airport and that weapons were on-board the aircraft. Together with our security partners, the airport made a decision to park this aircraft at a remote location on the tarmac. It is the responsibility of the charter airline that its operation is compliant with TSA screening requirements.
...
An analysis of the incident and prior correspondence between OAK’s Airside Operations and the ground handler determined that the airport did not receive clear communication in advance from the charter airline that was hired by the military.

I am out of town starting tomorrow for a convention. If you have any further inquiries about this incident and the way it was handled, Rosemary Barnes who is part of our Public Affairs team would be happy to speak with you. You may also call Joanne Holloway, the acting manager of the Port’s Community and Customer Relations Department.
BTW, did you notice that everyone involved here is, as Skippy would say, "a chick?" Where is the diverse workplace?

Yes, military people leaving Iraq did not have TSA check their goodies (heck, we can't even get the State Dept to do its job), and shocker - the military has weapons! In 2007, late 2007, one would think...

No, I don't think we have anything here but ignorance and bureaucratic sludge. It should be fixed, but I think there is a lot more CYA and finger pointing to be done before we get any traction. Michelle and The Corner will help though. You are not going to get any help from Oakland's Congressman.

I am making the assumption the report is as stated. Being a Navy type, when I come back from deployment with a few hundred or thousand of my closest friends, we never had much problem because it was a Navy base we came back to. That being said, I have had this decade trouble at JFK coming back solo from overseas with my 'lil Beretta.

It resulted in me, a half-dozen
TSA guys, their supervisor, and their supervisor's-supervisor all looking at a double locked case, about a half-dozen sheets of paper with all sorts of stamps and official documentation, and me looking at them with a "YMBFKM" look on my face. It was after midnight and I was long without sleep. I think the major problem was that I was not in uniform when I went through. One guy asked about three times, "Why are you wearing civilian clothes?", while looking at my military ID and my orders. In the end, I wore them down with the fact that I was a better bureaucrat than they were - and they blinked. My paperwork is always in order; that and I kept saying (hence all the supervisors), "Who is your supervisor or regional director? Could we please call them?" To this day, I can't believe that happened at JFK of all places. They have to see that all the time...I guess.

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