A “missile launcher” was found in a service member’s checked luggage on Monday, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
TSA officials confiscated the device and contacted police at the Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport. When questioned, the unnamed man said he was active military on his way home from Kuwait, though it was unclear which branch he serves in.
He said that “he wanted to keep the missile launcher as a souvenir,” TSA said in a statement later Monday.
“Fortunately the item was not a live device,” the agency added.
TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein also shared the development on Twitter.
“Perhaps he should have picked up a keychain instead,” she joked.
.@TSA officers at @BWI_Airport detected this missile launcher in a checked bag early this morning. Man said he was bringing it back from Kuwait as a souvenir. Perhaps he should have picked up a keychain instead! pic.twitter.com/AQ4VBPtViG
— TSAmedia_LisaF (@TSAmedia_LisaF) July 29, 2019
The man, who is from Jacksonville, Texas, was ultimately able to catch his flight. But the TSA warned that military weapons are not allowed on civilian airlines.
What’s wrong with packing a missile launcher in your luggage?
Twitter generally sided with the service member.
“Now we cant even bring our missile launchers with us!” one user joked.
Sad day for some of us who have used BWI alot. First they made us take laptops out of our bags, then they made us take off our shoes, now we cant even bring our missile launchers with us!
— Steve Rogers (@sdrogers6) July 29, 2019
“I thought this was America,” another user quipped.
I thought this was America.
— Charles Bellows (@charles_bellows) July 29, 2019
Some commentators argued that the man should have been allowed to keep his souvenir, pointing out that it was likely harmless.
It’s a Common Launch Tube (CLT). totally harmless. It is not a rocket launcher. It is a missile dispenser, expended from an air platform. it is totally inert so perhaps the gentleman should have removed the yellow tape and put blue on it. It once held a Griffin missile.
— Strider King (@Striderking6) July 29, 2019
Raytheon, the company that manufactures the Griffin B missile system, said on its website that projectile is launched from a commonposite tube. The forward firing missile is typically launched from rotary and fixed winged aircraft, the company explained. In production since 2010, it is a low collateral damage 13-pound warhead.