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4,226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Marine Mistreatment at Oakland Airport Unacceptable
Wednesday, October 03, 2007

By Heather Nauert

On Monday John Gibson highlighted reports that U.S. Marines returning from deployment in Iraq were relegated to cargo status at Oakland airport. Two hundred returning Marines landed in California for a three-hour layover before getting on their final flight to Hawaii where they were stationed. Instead of being welcomed into the airport terminal, the troops were kept in a separate area where the airlines stow extra baggage.

According to "Big Story" correspondent Douglas Kennedy, these brave Americans were not allowed inside the terminal to use the bathroom, buy food or magazines. Airport authorities chalk it up to a big miscommunication over security screening and bureaucratic rules. Perhaps.

This might be believable if the Bay Area had not historically stood in the military’s way. Last week we reported that San Francisco would not reasonably accommodate Marines who wanted to shoot a television commercial on the streets of San Francisco.

Gibson, a native of the area, remembers how some residents of the Bay Area treated troops during the 1970s. He said, “This smacks of the bad old days in the Bay Area when returning Vietnam vets were spat upon.†He added, “Some high-ranking military person should make sure it never happens again. Our Iraq vets should be welcome anywhere and everywhere.â€

The incident at the Oakland airport reminded me of a scene I witnessed while at the Dallas airport earlier this year. As I walked down the terminal, I noticed that a big crowd of travelers and airport workers had gathered. Businessmen broke from their phone conversations, parents and children paid attention, TSA screeners stopped what they were doing, and flight attendants paused. A gate attendant just announced that a large group of U.S. soldiers — fresh from Iraq — was just about to walk off the plane.

More than 100 travelers and employees waited in silence. The gateway door opened and one by one young men and women, each with a tanned face and wearing their uniform, stepped onto U.S. soil. The crowd applauded, cheered loudly and yelled, “Welcome home!†I stood among a group of strangers. Each of us said “Thank you†to the men and women who walked off that plane. Some bystanders cried, and many of the soldiers seemed touched — some fought back tears, others remained stoic.

I was proud to be an American and equally proud by the way that our men and women who serve our country were treated — with the gratitude and respect they deserve. If only those in the Bay Area felt the same way.

4,226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Evidently this isnt the first time this has happened at Oakland:

Spitting on the Marines [Michael Ledeen]

Here is an e-mail from a Marine chaplain recently returned from Iraq. The story speaks for itselfâ€"lousy treatment of our troops at our own airports. He writes about Oakland, and while checking around I find that this is a common experience. I hope that one of our leaders will find a way to put an end to such behavior.

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


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.

The first stop for fuel/food and crew change was in

Leipzig Germany. Troops exited the aircraft and took

a bus to a reception area in the terminal, where there

was a convenience store, phones, Internet and

restrooms. As we excited the bus we were given a

re-boarding pass. Three troops remained on the plane

with the rifles and pistols. There was no ammunition

on the plane and the bolts of the rifles had been

removed. After about 2 hours troops re-boarded the

plane and flew to JFK in NY.

At JFK the procedure was similar to Germany, 3 troops

stayed on the plane to guard weapons while the rest

deplaned. At the gate we were each given a

re-boarding pass and spent about 1.5 hours in the

terminal, at which time we re-boarded and flew to


As we came in for the final approach to Oakland a

Lieutenant who served in Afghanistan with the same

unit in 2006 mentioned how when they landed in Oakland

they were not allowed in the terminal. He said, "they

made us get out by the FED EX building and we had to

sit out there for 3 hours". He also indicated he was

almost arrested by the TSA for getting belligerent

about them not letting the Marines into the terminal.

Well the same thing happened again. This time we did

not park by the FED EX building, instead we were

offloaded near the grass that separates the active

runway from the taxi ramp, about 400 yards from the

terminal. When we inquired why they wouldn't allow us

in the airport they gave us some lame excuse that we

hadn't been screened by TSA. While true, the

screening which we did have was much more thorough

than any TSA search and was done by US Customs.

Additionally, JFK didn't seem to have a problem with

our entering their terminal, nor did security in


It felt like being spit on. Every Marine and soldier

felt the message loud and clear, "YOU ARE NOT WELCOME


5,215 Posts
OK, I done decided. Next war we're involved in the loser gets kalifonia!

2,188 Posts
What makes it even worse the people of California let it happen, continuously!!!!!!! How do good Americans continue to live in a state that treats it's Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines and Civilians in such a manner.

They continuously vote for these scum bags and keep them in office.

1,089 Posts
Firearmz said:
What makes it even worse the people of California let it happen, continuously!!!!!!! How do good Americans continue to live in a state that treats it's Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines and Civilians in such a manner.

They continuously vote for these scum bags and keep them in office.
"Good" Americans? They get the hell out of California.

684 Posts
cross your fingers, maybe that mythical earthquake will come and dump the whole state in the ocean

2,515 Posts
Care to guess who will scream for the .mil the loudest when the SHTF?

Frack them.

This was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. Even though I was born and raised in the bay area...I will NEVER step foot in that state again, for any reason. And, I so notified all of my family that lives there of this decision last night.
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