Faces of TSA: Still Proudly Serving

Faces of TSA: Still Proudly Serving


Approach the checkpoint in Nashville, and
you probably don’t give it a thought. But the TSA officer checking your documents
is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army. The officer next to her — a 23-year veteran
of the U.S. Air Force. And relieving him: a former U.S. Marine — if
there is such a thing as a former Marine. These days, travelers are more likely to find
a veteran at the checkpoint than in the cockpit. More than 20 percent of TSA’s workforce
are military veterans. In Tennessee, it’s almost one out of every
four. And every Veterans Day, TSA at Nashville and
Knoxville airports honors veterans with personalized posters, letting the public know that they
are “Still Proudly Serving.” I like it. I like it a lot… At one point raised our hands and swore to
protect and defend, and you know, here we are doing it again. Federal Security Director Stephen Wood – himself,
a former Army colonel – says the posters honor their devotion to country. We’ve been doing this for several years. It started here in Tennessee. We decided that it would be a good way to
connect both with the public, but also with the other officers at the checkpoint to demonstrate
the appreciation that we have for the veterans and their incredible commitment to serving
the nation. It’s a great idea. When I interviewed I saw the placards on the
wall behind me as I interviewed. And so that made me feel good about the TSA. TSA officers at Nashville have served in all
branches of the military. And as a group, they’re probably better
traveled than even the most seasoned business traveler. I was up in England, Turkey, Spain… Toured Europe twice, toured Asia twice
I was at Ramstein. I was at Rheinmein, I was in Belgium, Florens,
Belgium. I went to Germany for three years… Greece, spent time in Germany, back to Benning. And then I went to Saudi. …Ummm. Italy!” The veterans say their military experience
benefits TSA and the public. I mean you take what you learn, how you were
molded, my bearing, my tact. My ability to communicate. My ability to handle stress. It’s an extension of military service. And it’s the military service that gives
you the confidence to work with different people, and keeping people safe. That’s what the military does every day;
that’s what we do at TSA. The veterans say they like the attention the
posters brings. Sometime when I’m out checking tickets,
someone will see it and say, ‘That’s your picture right there.’ TSA veterans at Nashville have served in every
conflict from Vietnam through Afghanistan. And we still have people who serve today…
and one’s actually going to Afghanistan this month. That’s Josh Whitford, who recently re-enlisted,
fulfilling a promise to his friends in the National Guard. While he’s gone, he said, he’ll be counting
on his friends at TSA. When we’re all deployed, all we think about
is our friends and family. And when they’ve got to get on that plane,
what do you think we think about? Who’s going to protect them there? TSA does that job for us.

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