Officials say an Air Force sergeant has become the second U.S. service member to try and bring back a rocket launcher tube as a souvenir of their time abroad in less than a week.
The rocket launcher was seized this week when it was discovered by airport security at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, located near Baltimore. The second launch tube discovered this week was brought back by an Air Force sergeant returning to the U.S. on a military flight. The sergeant told security he was bringing the weapon home as a souvenir from his service abroad.
The weapon, which is designed to be mounted on the side of an aircraft, did not hold any explosives, and was not dangerous. However, because it could have contained pressurized gas (which is prohibited on commercial flights) it was held by the Maryland's Fire Marshal's Office in Maryland.
"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," the marshal's office wrote in a release about the discovery.
The weapon will be held by the office until it can be safely returned to the sergeant.
On Monday, security screeners with the Transportation Safety Administration discovered a similar weapon inside the checked luggage of another returning U.S. service member. Neither person were arrested for attempting to bring the weapons into the country. That weapon was confiscated and turned over to the Maryland Fire Marshal's office for disposal.
"Fortunately the item was not a live device," the TSA said in a statement.
Military grade weapons are prohibited aboard domestic flights in either checked or carry-on luggage. Civilian firearms must be placed unloaded in checked backs and locked in a hard-sided container if passengers wish to fly with their weapons.
Photo: Office of the State Fire Marshal in Maryland