Kemnitz was severely injured by a roadside bomb attack in 2004 and had limited use of his right arm. When going through TSA security while wearing his uniform, he could not comply with an order from a TSA worker to raise both arms above his head.
“My right arm doesn’t work. It’s a lot of hassle for me to do that,” Kemntiz said.
According Kemnitz friend Patricia Martin,, who took photos of the encounter, TSA workers looked under his medals, swabbed his shoes for explosives, and looked under his waistband.
Martin voiced her anger in a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.
“I feel so strongly that you need to know just how shamefully even a Purple Heart recipient/disabled veteran can be treated by some TSA and security employees,” she wrote.
Kemnitz told militarytimes.com that the the TSA incident did not annoy him as much as it did his friend. However, he later got into a heated exchange with security guards at the California state capitol. Kemnitz says one security guard, whom he described as "rude and unapologetic," ordered him to remove his outer jacket of his dress uniform because he was wearing "too much metal."
The "metal" in question adorning the jacket is several medals earned during his military service,
The wounded veteran was visiting the government building to be honored as "veteran of the year" by his legislative district.