Man with wired jaw wasn’t allowed clippers on plane

The Associated Press
Saturday June 01, 2002

XSAN FRANCISCO – A U.S. Army lieutenant whose jaw is wired shut from a bullet wound he received in Afghanistan said screeners at San Francisco International Airport denied him permission to pass through security with wire clippers used to snap open his jaw in an emergency. 

Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Deirdre O’Sullivan said the agency is investigating the incident. 

Lt. Greg Miller, a combat medic and member of a special forces patrol and a Purple Heart recipient, was shot in Kandahar in April. The bullet passed through his jaw, severing nerves and leaving him without feeling in his mouth. 

He said his jaw was wired shut at a hospital in Germany, and his doctor issued him a pair of wire clippers to carry at all times in case he became sick and needed to open his jaw to avoid choking. 

Miller had flown to the Bay Area to visit his mother, the administrative assistant to the superintendent of the Millbrae School District. 

Miller, who lives in College Station, Texas, said officials at the Easterwood Airport there checked out the wire cutters before he boarded the plane to San Francisco via Dallas. Miller said they made a series of calls, then tagged the cutters with a code that security personnel could look up to see that the cutters were not a prohibited item. 

But O’Sullivan said the cutters are on the list of prohibited items.