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Oakland Airport apologizes for shunting troops

By Michelle Malkin  •  October 3, 2007 04:10 PM


This is exactly what I said they should do: Just stop passing the buck, show some compassion, and take some responsibility. They listened. The Oakland Tribune reports on the Oakland Airport’s press conference this afternoon:

Oakland International Airport officials apologized for prohibiting a planeload of U.S. troops, just back from Iraq, from entering the passenger terminal during a layover Thursday, prompting conservative pundits and bloggers to hold up the incident as an example of the Left Coast dishonoring soldiers.

“We apologize, I apologize to any members of the military that were on this flight and may have experienced some discomfort or perception of disrespect,” said Omar Benjamin, executive director of the Port of Oakland, which operates the airport.

There was no disrespect intended when North American Airlines Flight 1777 was directed to wait two hours at a remote part of the airport, Benjamin said. The plane was onits way from Iraq to Hawaii.

Benjamin’s apology came in the face of conflicting reports circulating across the nation painting the airport in the liberal-leaning Bay Area as a poster child for disrespect toward U.S. troops.

Although the airport said its decision was made “together with the TSA,” the Transportation Security Administration denied playing a role.

More from SFChron:

“There was no disrespect that was intended,” said Omar Benjamin, executive director of the Port of Oakland, which runs the airport. “There was confusion. There were mistakes that were made.”

…The airport said the Marines were not screened by Transportation Security Administration agents after they arrived in New York on a flight from Kuwait. That factored into the decision to exclude them from the passenger terminal, officials said. But the TSA said the Marines had been screened by U.S. Customs.

“At no time were servicemen and women prohibited from entering the sterile area of Oakland International Airport by TSA personnel or regulations,” the federal agency said.

Now, the airport, TSA, and the military charter firm have to move forward, uncross their crossed lines of communication, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

It must have been a difficult decision for the troop who first spread word about the incident to come forward. Kudos to him and all who wrote/contacted Oakland Airport and the feds.

It is NOT the 1960s anymore.


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