TSA offers expedited airport screening to injured military members

Under the revisions to the TSA's "Wounded Warriors" program, injured military members will be able to keep their shoes and jackets and hats on and receive assistance getting to their gates. 

The agency, which first established its Wounded Warriors program in 2005, said it has "long provided expedited screening for all members of our military."

"At airport checkpoints nationwide, U.S. service personnel in uniform with proper identification, whether traveling on official orders or not, are not required to remove their shoes or boots unless they alarm our technology," the agency said.

Lawmakers prodded the TSA to make the changes.

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) said Wednesday that the change to the agency's procedures for handling of injured military members was long overdue.

"This country has a duty to honor its veterans and active duty service men and women, especially the wounded and disabled,” Richmond said in a statement.  “Expanding the PreCheck program will offer a measure of relief to our wounded warriors and ensure that they are treated with respect and dignity while traveling. Moving forward, I urge my colleagues in Congress to support the 'Helping Heroes Fly Act,' which I introduced last week with Rep. Gabbard, to ensure that this policy will remain in place permanently.”

A spokesman for Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who also wrote to the agency about the Phoenix incident, applauded its decision. 

“It’s good to see TSA taking initiative and implementing a program that’s aimed at making the security process easier for wounded vets," Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper said in an email. "Some injuries are visible, others aren’t, and vets who have difficulty should have an opportunity to ask for additional assistance if they need it.”