Trio escorting body of fallen comrade are stripped of dress blue coats, searched at airport
By Gidget FuentesTimes staff writer
It wasn't the city of "brotherly love" for a trio of Marine noncommissioned officers escorting the body of a fallen Marine through the Philadelphia airport.
Each decked in their blue dress uniforms, the three enlisted Marines made their way through a security checkpoint at the Philadelphia International Airport about noon on May 3 when they were pulled aside by security workers with the federal Transportation Safety Administration.
The Marines - a sergeant and two corporals - were escorting the body of Sgt. Lea R. Mills from Dover Air Force Base, Del., to his family in Gulfport, Miss. Mills, who was married and lived in Oceanside with his wife, was killed in Iraq on April 28 by a roadside bomb. He was one of three leathernecks killed that day in Iraq's Anbar province.
They were brothers-in-arms. Like Mills, the Marine escorts are members of the Camp Pendleton-based 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion.
The trio had to go through the terminal's security in order to reach their flight that would take them to Houston and make sure that Mills' body was properly placed on the airplane. While their uniforms likely would trigger the metal detector, they had figured they would be able to zip through the screening process and get on with their business.
"Wearing the blues, the metal detector is going to go off," said Sgt. John Stock, a mechanic, who was accompanied by Cpls. Aaron Bigalk and Jason Schadeburg.
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This is just sad. The hubby was accosted by the customs agent when he brought the dog home in April and now this. Why is it that I can spend two minutes talking to a German customs agent explaining why I haven't left Germany in six years without the hassle - yet when we try to go home or travel in our own country they act like tyrants? This just pisses me off.