DALLAS-FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – No matter where your next flight is heading, blue-uniformed TSA agents are part of the trip.
Checking ID’s, checking you, checking your bags and yes, they know what some people think of them.
“They just think we’re uneducated people who can’t get a job anywhere else,” said Paul Bannerman, an officer for 16 years. “And that’s not true”
What is true, is many of the agents guiding you to your gate at DFW Airport, have worn a uniform before.
“There’s a good chance that one of the 50,000 passengers we push through a day to the checkpoint, they’re going to encounter a veteran,” said Chris Castro.
Castro is one of those veterans. After leaving the Army army he joined the TSA right after 9-11.
So did Bannerman, who was looking for a job that fit him, after 21 years as a Marine.
“I want to make sure I protect America, and keep the public safe,” he said. “I don’t want nothing bad to happen on my watch.”
At DFW Airport, more than 20 percent of the TSA workforce is made up of veterans. That’s more than 270 people who already served the country somewhere else, before deciding to serve again.
“I went from Department of Defense, to Department of Homeland Security,” said Crystal Cherry, who joined six years ago and works in communications for the agency. “So I still wanted to serve in some way while going to school. So I thought it was perfect.”
This week, the TSA started handing out red, white and blue ribbons, to its officers who are also veterans.
That way, over the Veterans Day weekend the traveling public can recognize the service Crystal, Paul, Chris and hundreds of others have performed, and are still performing.
“It’s part of the mission,” said Castro. “It’s just extending it.”
A special committee came up with the idea at DFW, and they’re hoping maybe other airports might pick up the idea in the future.