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Wed, Jul 07, 2010

TSA Tells Troops 'No Grenades On Commercial Flights'

Soldiers Often Pack Inert Battlefield Souveniers In Their Luggage

The Transportation Security Administration is reminding military members that explosives are not allowed on commercial flights. TSA spokesman Lauren Gaches said agency workers occasionally encounter servicemembers who have packed inert grenades or other prohibited items in their luggage, often as a keepsake from the battlefield.

"The problem is, when you're looking at that through an X-ray machine, you can't tell the difference" as to whether it could explode, she said. Servicemembers traveling with prohibited items is not a common problem, but it can be disruptive, Gaches said. "From time to time, we see folks traveling with this type of material, and it has to be surrendered," she said, adding that such items are not returned.

If security officers find prohibited items, they may have to close checkpoints or baggage areas temporarily, or call in bomb squads, Gaches said. Prohibited items include blasting caps, dynamite, fireworks, flares, hand grenades and explosives, either real or replicated. TSA permits other items such as firearms and ammunition in checked luggage - not carry-on baggage - but airlines may be stricter, according to the TSA website. A full list of TSA-prohibited items is available online.

"At TSA, we salute the men and women of our armed forces and thank them for their service to our country," Gaches said in a prepared statement. "We always look forward to partnering with our servicemembers during the security screening process as we strive to achieve our mutual mission of protecting our homeland."

FMI: www.tsa.gov

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