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Per TSORon's Second New Thread Request: Non-Prohibited Items

Per TSORon's Second New Thread Request: Non-Prohibited Items

Old Oct 11, 12, 9:57 am
  #1  
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Per TSORon's Second New Thread Request: Non-Prohibited Items

A discussion was underway in the Practical Travel Safety Issues about the TSA discovering non-prohibited items and the requirements therefor. TSORon is now of the opinion that we should no longer have that discussion there:

Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
And pretty much thatís going to be the last post I have along this subject line in this forum. Again, if you wish to continue this discussion I suggest that you transfer it to the other forum.
So again here we are per his request. To provide some background, here are the salient parts of those posts:

Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
Where it pretty much says that if something is discovered incidental to the search that indicates a crime is being committed that the TSO is required to report it to his/her supervisor or a law enforcement official.

IOW, we are prohibited from searching for these things, but we do occasionally discover them, and as such are required to report them to those trained to deal with them. Questions?
Originally Posted by ND Sol View Post
I have two.

1. Has the TSA trained you to detect "these things" that are unrelated to the safety of air travel?

2. Are you aware of any TSO being reprimanded or worse for failing to report "these things" that are unrelated to the safety of air travel and for which you have not been trained to detect (e.g. child pornography, illegal drugs)?

If you are, then I would like to represent that person in a action against the TSA. If not, then that is evidence of a "requirement" that has no teeth, which doesn't make it much of a requirement now does it.
So here is his "response" and now my reply in this new thread:

Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
Patience is a virtue.

1.Please show me what ďmightĒ be an unrelated threat to the safety of air travel and Iíll show you two ways it can be done.
First, what is your point? This appears to be a non sequitur. Second, you are the one that brought up "these things", not me. But to play your little game, how about cash, child pornography and illegal drugs.

Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
2. Hmm, punish someone for being wrong about a safety concern. Yeah, thatís a great idea.
Where did I say punish someone for a safety concern? First, we are talking about items that are not prohibited. Per the TSA, "prohibited items" are a safety concern. Non-prohibited items are not an air travel safety concern according to the TSA. So that is your first failure in your comment. Second, the question related to the failure to report non-prohibited items and the ramifications thereof. You continue to state that TSOs are required to report "these things" that are non-prohibited items and for which you have not been trained by the TSA to detect. The issue, therefore, is what the ramifications are for failing to report, not the opposite. As such, that is your second failure in your comment.

Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
3. I have extensive training in identifying illicit substances. I cant say the same for my fellow TSOís, but they can bring concerns to those that DO have the training, which is what our management directive requires. Just like we cant arrest someone who breaches security, but we can point that person out to the persons who can.
Are you admitting that the TSA does not train you to recognize "these things", which are non-prohibited items? Once again, you state that the management directive requires you to report "these things", but what are the consequences if you fail to do so?

Perhaps the words of FlyingHoustonian in the other thread are apropos:

Originally Posted by FlyingHoustonian View Post
As a tsa clerk you ignored the main question (per normal)....
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Old Oct 11, 12, 10:32 am
  #2  
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Ronnie's one comment speaks volumes about why the TSA gets away with this:

1.Please show me what ďmightĒ be an unrelated threat to the safety of air travel and Iíll show you two ways it can be done.
They have never been forced to state what is a threat and what isn't. I think the cop community calls this the "elephant behind the bookcase" situation. When real cops conduct real warranted searches, they have to state what they are looking for. If they say they are searching for elephants, they can't discover any evidence of a crime (the legal definition of "discover") in an area smaller than one would reasonable expect an elephant to be hidden.

The TSA has never been compelled to define the smallest prohibited item. Because of the benefit of their ability to search and define anything as a prohibited item, no law enforcement agency on the planet will stop them from doing the work they can't legally do. So, until compelled by law (not that the TSA would obey the law anyway), the smallest element in the known universe -- an atom of hydrogen -- can be determined to be a prohibited item. Since it's the smallest substance in the universe, it can be hidden anywhere in luggage or on an individual's body. This gives the TSA license to search anywhere, anybody, anytime.

The TSA has also never been compelled to articulate their reason for searching a bag or an individual. I simply can't believe that a clerk looking at x-ray images of carry-ons does not know what a joint, a bundle of cash or bag of drugs looks like. They never have had to justify a search beyond stating, "I think I saw something." There was one court case where the TSA had the stupidity to authorize the clerk herself to testify. (I think it was the case of the guys carrying a lot of credit cards or something.) The clerk admitted under oath that she had no security reason to search a large envelope. As I recall, the judge actually followed the law enough to throw out the evidence. You can bet that the TSA will ensure that no other clerk ever gets even close to a witness stand again, except as a defendant.

Geez -- I want out country back!
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Old Oct 11, 12, 12:34 pm
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Tsoron, almost everything on the prohitited list is not a threat. When a person is placed in jail, their shoe laces and other "stringy" things are removed because shoes laces are a threat. So other than what courts have said are a threat, guns, bombs, incendiaries, everything else prohibited is pandering to airline unions and air lines.

Everyone else, some pre TSA cases indicate that screeners are not trained, nor permitted to look specifically for criminal activity, if found they reported it too police. Tsa personnel do not arrest powers nor do they have search warrants, by court order tsa searches are limited too guns, bombs, incendiaries, and if criminal activity is discovered it can be reported.

Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
3. I have extensive training in identifying illicit substances.
If you say so.

Last edited by FatherAbraham; Oct 11, 12 at 2:37 pm
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Old Oct 11, 12, 5:04 pm
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Since I've also had paperwork confiscated, as in the original thread, I'm wondering if TSORon can tell me exactly why it was confiscated.

Um, sorry...."surrendered".
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Old Oct 11, 12, 5:32 pm
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Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
So, until compelled by law (not that the TSA would obey the law anyway), the smallest element in the known universe -- an atom of hydrogen -- can be determined to be a prohibited item. Since it's the smallest substance in the universe, it can be hidden anywhere in luggage or on an individual's body. This gives the TSA license to search anywhere, anybody, anytime.
Just pointing out that hydrogen atoms can be quite dangerous if handled improperly.

Everything's prohibited!!!!

Or...

Is that statement - and this:

1.Please show me what “might” be an unrelated threat to the safety of air travel and I’ll show you two ways it can be done.
completely ridiculous?!?
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Old Oct 13, 12, 6:01 pm
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Originally Posted by ND Sol View Post
First, what is your point? This appears to be a non sequitur. Second, you are the one that brought up "these things", not me. But to play your little game, how about cash, child pornography and illegal drugs.
I was unaware we were playing a game. Does that mean that it has rules?

Cash: 1. Financing terrorism. 2. As concealment for prohibited items. 3. Put into a sock, some forms of cash make a very good bludgeon (you didnít specify).

Kiddie porn: Really? We live in a civilized society where such is universally prohibited.

Illicit Drugs: 1. The sale of is commonly used to finance terrorism. I know Phil will have a coronary over that, but the facts are the facts. 2. Dispersed as a weapon on board an aircraft it could be used to disable the passengers as well as the crew, causing a catastrophic event. 3. Again, put it in a sock...

Originally Posted by ND Sol View Post
Where did I say punish someone for a safety concern?
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/19447921-post39.html

Originally Posted by ND Sol View Post
First, we are talking about items that are not prohibited. Per the TSA, "prohibited items" are a safety concern. Non-prohibited items are not an air travel safety concern according to the TSA. So that is your first failure in your comment. Second, the question related to the failure to report non-prohibited items and the ramifications thereof. You continue to state that TSOs are required to report "these things" that are non-prohibited items and for which you have not been trained by the TSA to detect. The issue, therefore, is what the ramifications are for failing to report, not the opposite. As such, that is your second failure in your comment.
I see where your error is. You are assuming that TSA expects us to rely only on our TSA training. This of course is not true, the TSA and the government in general realizes that people have their own personal histories and education, and as such those histories and education can be of use in our current positions (most companies are much more likely to hire someone with experience than those without). We are not automations, we come to the job with life experience just as you have done for your job. I do not need to be trained by TSA to recognize a grenade, or marijuana, I have personal experience with both. And in any case, even if I had no such experience I would be required to report anything that I cannot identify to a supervisor who hopefully can.

Originally Posted by ND Sol View Post
Are you admitting that the TSA does not train you to recognize "these things", which are non-prohibited items? Once again, you state that the management directive requires you to report "these things", but what are the consequences if you fail to do so?

Perhaps the words of FlyingHoustonian in the other thread are apropos:
Should they train us on these things? Sorry, that decision is above my pay grade. Consequences are not mandated in the MD, or even spelled out for that matter. But itís a part of my job, and as a good worker I am going to do my job.

FH is on my ignore list, so I donít see what he writes. I like it that way.

Originally Posted by FatherAbraham View Post
Tsoron, almost everything on the prohitited list is not a threat. When a person is placed in jail, their shoe laces and other "stringy" things are removed because shoes laces are a threat. So other than what courts have said are a threat, guns, bombs, incendiaries, everything else prohibited is pandering to airline unions and air lines.

Everyone else, some pre TSA cases indicate that screeners are not trained, nor permitted to look specifically for criminal activity, if found they reported it too police. Tsa personnel do not arrest powers nor do they have search warrants, by court order tsa searches are limited too guns, bombs, incendiaries, and if criminal activity is discovered it can be reported.



If you say so.
Well now, lets just take a look at that list, shall we?

http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-informat...ohibited-items

Sharp Objects
Sporting Goods
Guns & Firearms
Tools
Martial Arts & Self Defense Items
Explosive & Flammable Materials, Disabling Chemicals & Other Dangerous Items

Iíd say that most of those items are clearly a threat. TSA is not a prison, so we donít really have a great deal of concern about passengers hanging themselves or garroting each other in the sterile area. Unless of course the beer has run out at the concession stand, then there may be some problems.

There is more about prohibited items at the link provided. Take a few minutes to read through it, you would be surprised how helpful it can be.

Originally Posted by lovely15 View Post
Since I've also had paperwork confiscated, as in the original thread, I'm wondering if TSORon can tell me exactly why it was confiscated.

Um, sorry...."surrendered".
I was not there, you were. You tell us. Try not to leave to much out of the description of the events. I wouldnít want someone to accuse you of slanting things in any particular direction.
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Old Oct 13, 12, 6:05 pm
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Originally Posted by tkey75 View Post
Just pointing out that hydrogen atoms can be quite dangerous if handled improperly.

Everything's prohibited!!!!

Or...

Is that statement - and this:



completely ridiculous?!?
Yeah -- they're elusive little buggers! Oh, the humanity!
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Old Oct 13, 12, 8:08 pm
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Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
I was unaware we were playing a game. Does that mean that it has rules?

Cash: 1. Financing terrorism. 2. As concealment for prohibited items. 3. Put into a sock, some forms of cash make a very good bludgeon (you didnít specify).
1. Irrelevant to whether or not a passenger poses a specific threat to the flight they intend to board that day.

2. Anything can be used to conceal other things. So, why the specific emphasis on large sums of money, and not, say, large quantities of clothing? Or large quantities of other forms of paper, like books or magazines?

3. By that standard, anything I bring aboard could be turned into a bludgeon. Shall we simply ban all passenger's personal possessions aboard an aircraft?

Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
Kiddie porn: Really? We live in a civilized society where such is universally prohibited.
I am hard pressed to think of a way that a passenger could use a photo of child pornography to hijack or destroy a commercial flight.

Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
Illicit Drugs: 1. The sale of is commonly used to finance terrorism. I know Phil will have a coronary over that, but the facts are the facts. 2. Dispersed as a weapon on board an aircraft it could be used to disable the passengers as well as the crew, causing a catastrophic event. 3. Again, put it in a sock...
1. Selling drugs aboard an aircraft is not likely to cause an immediate threat to the safety of that particular flight.

2. The same could be said for legal drugs. Heck, there's enough alcohol aboard the aircraft in the catering supplies to fuel a nice IED. Why treat illicit drugs differently than legal ones?

3. Socks don't kill people; people kill people.

Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
I see where your error is. You are assuming that TSA expects us to rely only on our TSA training. This of course is not true, the TSA and the government in general realizes that people have their own personal histories and education, and as such those histories and education can be of use in our current positions (most companies are much more likely to hire someone with experience than those without). We are not automations, we come to the job with life experience just as you have done for your job. I do not need to be trained by TSA to recognize a grenade, or marijuana, I have personal experience with both. And in any case, even if I had no such experience I would be required to report anything that I cannot identify to a supervisor who hopefully can.
And, as I've pointed out to you before, your lack of TSA training on recognizing those items creates liability for you, if your reliance on your prior training leads to an incident. TSA will be quite happy to say "We never told Ron to treat [fill-in-the-blank] as a dangerous item", or, alternatively, "Ron should've known that [fill-in-the-blank] was dangerous." You'll be left hanging out to dry.

Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
Well now, lets just take a look at that list, shall we?

http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-informat...ohibited-items
Oh, goody!

Sharp Objects
I can turn a pair of scissors (permitted item) into a pair of knives (prohibited item) in just a few seconds. Also, knitting needles are permitted, even though they can create extremely clean puncture wounds. (I know this a little too well.) Clearly, the prohibition on sharp objects is so vague as to be useless.

Sporting Goods
Because the little 8-inch bats that the Louisville Slugger company sells as trinkets pose such a threat to aviation that the Louisville TSA confiscates them at the checkpoint. (I know; I've transited Louisville and seen the great big bin of bats at the checkpoint.) "Sporting Goods" is so vague as to be useless.

Guns & Firearms
We have no argument here.

Tools
Pray tell, what's the difference between a six-inch knife and a six-inch screwdriver? Both would be effective weapons --- but the knife is prohibited and the screwdriver is permitted. "Tools" is so vague as to be useless.

Martial Arts & Self Defense Items
Explosive & Flammable Materials, Disabling Chemicals & Other Dangerous Items
Again, we have no argument here.

From my spot in the cheap seats, it looks like TSA is trying to prohibit anything that "might" be used as a weapon, or a component of a weapon. But as anyone who's watched MacGuyver knows, virtually any object can become a vital component in a weapon.

And, in the meantime, because TSA instructs TSOs how to handle items you suspect might indicate a law being broken but have (at best) incidental relevance to commercial airline safety, TSOs end up being distracted from looking for the things that are actually a threat. And, as we've seen, many TSOs seem to interpret the instruction "don't look for this stuff, but tell us if you find it" as "look for this stuff and tell us about it". That line seems to be too fine for some TSOs to navigate successfully.
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Old Oct 13, 12, 10:05 pm
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Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
3. Put into a sock, some forms of cash make a very good bludgeon (you didnít specify).
...
3. Again, put it in a sock...
Wouldn't it be much easier to just ban socks then? After all, if any object can be put in a sock and used as a weapon, it would appear the sock is the bigger concern then - wouldn't it?

I see where your error is. You are assuming that TSA expects us to rely only on our TSA training...
Ron, I'm not a lawyer, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express anytime in the recent past, but you may want to have a discussion with an attorney to make sure that you completely understand the extents of your limited immunity from liability for your position. Typically, exceeding that which you are trained to do - even if it makes perfect common sense - can potentially remove you from the protection that you may be expecting. (See also JKHuggins' comments.)
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Old Oct 13, 12, 11:21 pm
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Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
I see where your error is. You are assuming that TSA expects us to rely only on our TSA training. This of course is not true, the TSA and the government in general realizes that people have their own personal histories and education, and as such those histories and education can be of use in our current positions (most companies are much more likely to hire someone with experience than those without). We are not automations, we come to the job with life experience just as you have done for your job. I do not need to be trained by TSA to recognize a grenade, or marijuana, I have personal experience with both. And in any case, even if I had no such experience I would be required to report anything that I cannot identify to a supervisor who hopefully can.

.
What training? You were a failure at your Air Force job, self admitted mind you, that is not me talking but direct from your prior communication.

You said you only served 15 years and never made rank fast enough...?
No one does 15 years and gets out if they enjoy the service, which you said you did. You were either RIFted which competent people are not, or you were kicked out. You already said it was not medical. So which is it ron? Why didn't you retire? That is what led to your TSA job as you also said.

You ignore me because I proved you wrong in three straight threads and you had no debate knowledge (your feckless and profane PMs notwithstanding). I understand it can be tough out here in the big world actually looking for facts but share with us more about that training.

What AFSC did you have that gave you this awesome training?
'Tis a simple question even you can answer.

Besides, you don't ignore me on TU...or you don't know it...

Last edited by FlyingHoustonian; Oct 13, 12 at 11:28 pm
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Old Oct 14, 12, 7:41 am
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Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/19447921-post39.html

I see where your error is. You are assuming that TSA expects us to rely only on our TSA training. This of course is not true, the TSA and the government in general realizes that people have their own personal histories and education, and as such those histories and education can be of use in our current positions (most companies are much more likely to hire someone with experience than those without). We are not automations, we come to the job with life experience just as you have done for your job. I do not need to be trained by TSA to recognize a grenade, or marijuana, I have personal experience with both. And in any case, even if I had no such experience I would be required to report anything that I cannot identify to a supervisor who hopefully can.

Should they train us on these things? Sorry, that decision is above my pay grade. Consequences are not mandated in the MD, or even spelled out for that matter. But itís a part of my job, and as a good worker I am going to do my job.
Most of your non sequiturs and deflections have been well addressed by other posters, so I will focus more on on-topic specifics.

Ron, this thread is about the TSA discovering non-prohibited items and the requirements therefor. You were the one that wanted a new thread in a new forum to discuss this, but you don't want to directly answer the two questions posed, which were:

1. Has the TSA trained you to detect "these things" that are unrelated to the safety of air travel (i.e. non-prohibited items)?

2. Are you aware of any TSO being reprimanded or worse for failing to report "these things" that are unrelated to the safety of air travel and for which you have not been trained to detect (e.g. child pornography, illegal drugs)?

First, you keep on stating that I want to "punish someone for being wrong about a safety concern" and link back to a post. I don't know how much clearer I can be on the subject, but this is the opposite of what I was positing. The question is not whether a TSO is punished for reporting a safety concern, the question is whether a TSO has been punished for failing to report a non-prohibited item per the SOP/Management Directive? Is that so difficult to answer?

The reason I keep on asking this question (but yet continue not to receive a direct answer from you) is to illustrate the SOP/Management Directive's impotency in this regard. If no adverse repercussions arise from a failure on the part of a TSO to follow the SOP/Management Directive, then the language is basically ineffectual. You can't seem to acknowledge that basic construct.

Second, the TSA doesn't train you in identifying non-prohibited items that should be reported since they may be evidence of a crime. You can't seem to directly acknowledge this fact either. If the TSA did train you, then that would be tacit admission of the ability to go beyond the administrative search parameters for WEI, which would cause legal issues.

I do find it interesting to note that the TSA is looking for certain past experiences and you note your prior training "to recognize a grenade, or marijuana". The TSA does train you to recognize the former, but not the latter. Are you implying that during your hiring process, the TSA was interested in your ability to recognize illegal non-prohibited drugs? Are you implying that such a question even comes up during the hiring process? Are you implying that if two TSO equally-qualified candidates are being considered for one position, that the training in recognizing those drugs could be the deciding factor?
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Old Oct 14, 12, 2:48 pm
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Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
I was not there, you were. You tell us. Try not to leave to much out of the description of the events. I wouldnít want someone to accuse you of slanting things in any particular direction.
Seriously? It went on for 11 pages here.
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/check...n-weapons.html
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Old Oct 14, 12, 4:43 pm
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Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
They have never been forced to state what is a threat and what isn't. I think the cop community calls this the "elephant behind the bookcase" situation. When real cops conduct real warranted searches, they have to state what they are looking for. If they say they are searching for elephants, they can't discover any evidence of a crime (the legal definition of "discover") in an area smaller than one would reasonable expect an elephant to be hidden.

The TSA has never been compelled to define the smallest prohibited item. Because of the benefit of their ability to search and define anything as a prohibited item, no law enforcement agency on the planet will stop them from doing the work they can't legally do. So, until compelled by law (not that the TSA would obey the law anyway), the smallest element in the known universe -- an atom of hydrogen -- can be determined to be a prohibited item. Since it's the smallest substance in the universe, it can be hidden anywhere in luggage or on an individual's body. This gives the TSA license to search anywhere, anybody, anytime.

The TSA has also never been compelled to articulate their reason for searching a bag or an individual. I simply can't believe that a clerk looking at x-ray images of carry-ons does not know what a joint, a bundle of cash or bag of drugs looks like. They never have had to justify a search beyond stating, "I think I saw something." There was one court case where the TSA had the stupidity to authorize the clerk herself to testify. (I think it was the case of the guys carrying a lot of credit cards or something.) The clerk admitted under oath that she had no security reason to search a large envelope. As I recall, the judge actually followed the law enough to throw out the evidence. You can bet that the TSA will ensure that no other clerk ever gets even close to a witness stand again, except as a defendant.

Geez -- I want out country back!
Every time I approach a TSA checkpoint, I am alternatively disgusted and despondent at what we have allowed our government to do to us.
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Old Oct 14, 12, 7:34 pm
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OT but these threads remind me of the old saying from George Bernard Shaw:

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
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Old Oct 14, 12, 8:17 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by FlyingHoustonian View Post
What training? You were a failure at your Air Force job, self admitted mind you, that is not me talking but direct from your prior communication.

You said you only served 15 years and never made rank fast enough...?
No one does 15 years and gets out if they enjoy the service, which you said you did. You were either RIFted which competent people are not, or you were kicked out. You already said it was not medical. So which is it ron? Why didn't you retire? That is what led to your TSA job as you also said.

You ignore me because I proved you wrong in three straight threads and you had no debate knowledge (your feckless and profane PMs notwithstanding). I understand it can be tough out here in the big world actually looking for facts but share with us more about that training.

What AFSC did you have that gave you this awesome training?
'Tis a simple question even you can answer.

Besides, you don't ignore me on TU...or you don't know it...
While I don't recall the specific years it was during the '80's and/or '90's that several programs were rolled out to reduce military force size..

One I recall was commonly called "Up or Out". Enlisted members could not reenlist if they did not hit certain promotion points during that enlistment. A lot of stagnant E-5 and E-6 hangers on were shown the door.

Some early outs were also offered but those people gave up a retirement check for a few bucks up front.

These programs were for the purpose of meeting force size requirements but a side effect was getting rid of lots of dead wood.
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