The Air Force sergeant traveling through the Baltimore Washington International Airport Thursday morning apparently didn’t get the memo.
Leave your rocket launch tubes on base.
As a result, the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal’s Bomb Squad, along with the Transportation Security Administration and the Maryland Transportation Authority, responded to BWI shortly before 5:30 a.m. on Aug. 1 to a report about a rocket launch tube found at the American Airlines baggage area.
The tube, brought back as a souvenir of service abroad, did not pose an explosive hazard and had been inspected by the military for safety, according to a release from the Office of State Fire Marshal.
Still, fire marshal officials said, “there is a slight chance that it could contain pressurized gas, and was therefore not allowed on the Sergeant’s connecting commercial flight,” according to the release.
The fire marshal’s bomb squad took possession of the launch tube until it can be safely returned to the owner.
The incident was first reported by the Capitol Gazette.
This is the second recovered launch tube military souvenir that the bomb squad has seized this week from BWI Airport.
On July 29, TSA personnel detected a rocket launcher in a checked bag. The man, who lives in Jacksonville, Texas, according to the TSA, said he was a service member bringing it back from Kuwait as a souvenir.
The TSA said the rocket launch tube was “not a live device.” But it was handed over to the state fire marshal for disposal and the man was ultimately allowed to catch his flight home.
Officials urge travelers to think before they pack.
“While it is not uncommon for military personnel to return home with mementos from their tours of duty, it is important that they are made aware of the differing regulations for their connecting commercial flights versus their military flights,” officials cautioned in the release..
Howard Altman is an award-winning editor and reporter who was previously the military reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and before that the Tampa Tribune, where he covered USCENTCOM, USSOCOM and SOF writ large among many other topics.