EAGAN, Minn. (WCCO) – Serving in the Marine Corps, Aaron Bradley fought for his country alongside his brothers on several tours of duty throughout the Middle East.
“These people will be my family until death,” Bradley said.
Back home, he never imagined he would have to fight again, this time for a necklace that bears the symbol of his time in the service.
“(It is) engraved with my initials on one side of it and on the other side, it had the Marine Corps emblem … the eagle, globe and anchor on it, which is very special to me,” Bradley said.
On Sunday, he was coming home to Minnesota from a Marine Corps reunion in Washington, D.C. when a TSA supervisor confiscated his necklace after he went through the metal detector.
“I was like, ‘Is there a problem?’ and all she said was, ‘This looks like a simulator’ and tore it off my chain,” Bradley said.
When he tried to get it back, the agent said he could fill out a comment card and threw it in a bin.
Bradley was able to make it through security at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport without any trouble wearing the necklace. A quick check of the TSA website reveals empty shell casings are allowed in carry-on bags as long as the projectile is no longer intact.
The necklace also contains another important symbol. Like a locket, the hollow shell has a love letter from his girlfriend, Janelle, inside it.
“The cartridge itself can be replaced, but really it was the sentiment behind it and the letter,” Janelle said.
Late Thursday, the couple found out the necklace had been found and is being sent back. That doesn’t change the hurt Bradley is feeling.
“I haven’t been treated that poorly by anyone in I can’t even remember how long,” Bradley said.
He tells WCCO-TV he may take legal action over the incident.
We did reach out to the TSA and they say, in general, real and replica ammunition is not permitted past checkpoints. An item like the necklace is up to the discretion of the TSA officer.