Friday, November 8, 2013

Honoring Our Fallen TSO

Photo of TSO Hernandez. 11/10/1973 - 11/01/2013

This morning, at 9:20am(PST)/12:20pm(EST), TSA employees, airport workers, and travelers across the nation paused to mark the moment an attack took the life of TSA Officer Gerardo Ismael Hernandez last week at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). 

Sadly, Officer Hernandez – a husband, a father, a son, a colleague and a friend – became the first TSA employee killed in the line of duty.  The agency and all across the Department of Homeland Security, have felt this impact.

In many ways, Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) are the public face of our nation’s security.  Every day, TSOs interact with nearly two million travelers across the United States with a single goal in mind – ensuring they safely reach their destinations.

He had joined TSA in June of 2010.  His colleagues, as well as passengers, knew him as a man whose warm smile and humorous nature made them feel at ease. He took pride in his duty to the TSA mission and to the American public.
United States Honor Flag Ceremony (LAX) Photo Courtesy of United States Honor Flag
United States Honor Flag Ceremony (LAX) Photo Courtesy of United States Honor Flag
This week at LAX, an American Airlines plane landed on the runway, marking the arrival of a special United States flag that was presented to his family and used at his funeral.  This flag, the United States Honor Flag , is a tribute reserved for those who make the ultimate sacrifice for their family, community and country. Hernandez was such a person.

Two other TSA officers, Tony Grigsby and James Speer involved in this senseless attack, are thankfully recovering from their injuries. Even in the chaos of the attack, these two TSOs were seen helping others and continuing to put the safety of others ahead of their own.

Officer Grigsby is a Master Behavior Detection Officer (MBDO), who has been with TSA since 2004. He said that during the incident, his main concern was making sure the terrified people running towards him were okay. He was shot in the ankle while helping an elderly man move to a safe area.

James Speer joined the TSA in 2008 and is a Master Security Training Instructor (MSTI). Even though he had been shot in the left shoulder, he continued to help by using his right arm to encourage people to keep running.
 
Pylons at LAX Lit Up in Blue in Honor of TSO Hernandez Photo Courtesy of United States Honor Flag
Pylons at LAX Lit Up in Blue in Honor of TSO Hernandez Photo Courtesy of United States Honor Flag


 Every day, thousands of TSA officers and employees report to checkpoints and checked baggage locations around the nation. Every one of them has sworn to protect the nation's transportation systems and in this line of work, an uneventful day is a good day.


Thank you to Officer Hernandez, and to all our TSOs working across the country.




33 comments:

Madero said...

I worked with TSA @SAT for 6 Years, best bunch of guys and they worked long hours and did good work. I never had problems with them as I was a Uniformed Officer and Instructor for the Airport Police after doing 35 years with SAPD. My heart goes out to them and for their loss. I enjoyed all the TSA Officers I meet and would always back them them up. God Bless You all for your Service and All of you are in our prayers.

Madero said...

I have a lot of respect for TSA they work long hours and did a Great Job, I was a Uniformed Police Officer at SAT for 6 years and made many friends with TSA. My Heart goes out to each of you for Your Loss of a Fellow Brother in the line of Duty. Our Prayers are with you and Families. I was with SAPD for 35 years and I know the feelings all of you have for this Great Loss. All of you are in my Prayers Always Be Safe!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your loss. God bless.

Anonymous said...

God bless our fallen heroes. Every time I fly I am grateful to TSA for my safety and that of my loved ones.

RB said...

I think everyone across the country is saddened by the death of Gerardo Hernandez.

I would hope that Administrator Pistole would take time to reflect on why TSA is so poorly received by the public and why TSA has earned the bad reputation TSA enjoys.

Of course none of that justifies anyone taking up arms and attacking a TSA employee.

Anonymous said...

God bless our fallen heroes.

Anonymous said...

May this good man rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

God Bless those you have lost.We appreciate your commitment to our safety.

JIM SULLIVAN said...

God bless the U.S.A. and the T.S.A.!

Anonymous said...

It is always a shock to us when peacekeepers are so violently attacked. My heart goes out to the Hernandez family and their friends for their loss. I am glad to hear that TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez was honored at LAX for his service to our country and his commitment to the safety of ALL people going through the terminal where Mr. Hernandez was stationed. Speedy recovery wishes and thanks to both other TSA officers who were injured in the attack and still continued to help others in the terminal during the attack. It is people like Gerardo Hernandez, Tony Grigsby and James Speer who help people like me to continue to hope for peace. I am humbled by these three men and what they risk for our sakes.

Sarith Rivera said...

May he rest in peace. Thank to all TSA employees for protecting us every day.

M Flynn said...

God Bless Gerardo and his family.
To all of you at the TSA, Keep up the terrific work!

Judith Dietz said...

My condolences to the family! This was a senseless act that took yet another life! Gerardo is now in the arms of the angels and may his family find peace in the days to come. ~~~GOD BLESS~~~

STSO C. Fernandez said...

I am very saddened by the death of Officer Hernandez. Words cannot express the loss. I have been working for TSA for five years and one of the reason's why I took this job, is because I have children that travel all the time and I want to make sure that when they board that plane, they will be safe. I will also never forget the tragedy on September 11 and will continue to do my duty to keep my children safe during their travels and to maintain the safety of the traveling public during their journeys. Nothing gives me a better feeling at the end of the day, than to know that I did my job well and went a step above and beyond to ensure everyones safety.

Anonymous said...

God Speed; and may He grant you Peace & mercy
LTSO - Retired (LAS)

Anonymous said...

From algeria I'm so shoked, and my heart goes out to the the Hermandez familly and his friends, I worked for prospect INC at O'Hare airport and I knew how greatest duties the TSA do for the safety of not for the passenge. rs but for the people around the world. The little error can affect other coumtry .thanks TSA

Kevin said...

Thank you to Gerardo's family, he died protecting others, God Bless You and all those who are in harm's way every day for us! They do what can be a thankless job every day!

Anonymous said...

It's time America got in lock-step with parts of Europe (can't speak for rest of the world). We travel in and out of Italy and it's very comforting to see armed polizia outside and inside the terminals. America cannot hide its head any longer. This is NOT a friendly world anywhere. We have enough armed active and reserve military and plenty of off-duty police officers who would not mind an additional income. Assign them, pay them and let our TSA do their security jobs! Thank you, TSA - haven't found anyone who does a bad job! God bless!!!

Bert Matt said...

Humberto

God-Bless America...

God-Bless those Soldiers that have given their lives to protect The United State Land of Freedom...

God-Bless America...

Education said...

Any loss of life is a shame. It is a shame that Life in America is such. I was so sad to hear that a TSA worker was killed. The job they do is to keep people safe. And because my name is Muhammad when I travel I am put through much security checks . . . Security check 1 then security check 2,then security check 3 then security check 4 it is a hassle even to the point of me missing my direct flight from Disney Land in California with my 2 little princesses back to Newark Airport to get back home on our round trip direct flights being that I am a disabled person that is what I needed. But because of the misdirected fear against Islam and Muslims instead of Evil reguardless of the face, I ended up stranded in Chacargo IL in the airport then caught the next flight from IL to NJ to get back home. But again SUCH is LIFE IN AMERICA I was not really too angry with people who really are just DOING THEIR JOB how can I be angry when there was no loss of life though I was very much inconvienced. I am again so sorry about that TSA worker. Because in all of my security checks I found them all to be very Professional. I want to be safe when I travel JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER AMERICAN THAT FLY JUST BECAUSE IT IS THE FASTEST WAY TO MOVE ABOUT THE COUNTRY.
Let Us All Learn something from this tragic thing so it not go for nothing.
I don't know everything about ALL Muslims, but ALL MUSLIM KNOW THAT Islam means Peace!

May there be Peace on Earth!
May THE SOLDIER REST IN PEACE.

Skol said...

This was a sad inevitability, but still the guys turn up every day for work. I repeat my self, how dare passengers complain at security implementations when TSO and their colleagues all over the world face the risks every day. RIP this good man.

Anonymous said...

I'm deeply saddened by this event. My heart goes out to the family members and friends of Gerardo. May they find rest in knowing that he laid his life down for others and service to his country.

I wish the other TSOs who where injured a speedy recover.

Integrity. Commitment. Honor.

Anonymous said...

My condolences to the family and friends of the screeners hurt and killed in LAX. So, TSA BlogTeam, you did surprise me. A respectful post by the head of the TSA. He (or his writer) did a pretty good job.

I am disappointed in some of the comments from the public or anonymous TSA employees who mistakenly call these employees "soldiers." Also, the person who likes armed soldiers in Italian airports and who wants to hand over all of his rights to a militarized oppressive dictatorship so he can feel safe. He should really consider that guns in the hands of so many government workers eventually get turned against the country's people.

Many people also make the mistake thinking that TSA screeners are constantly in danger. They aren't. A rare event should not be extrapolated to an every day occurence.

Finally, I wish the word "hero" wasn't applied to everyone who died at work in a tragic manner. Gerardo Hernandez was killed by a shooter. It's sad that he and other employees were shooting victims, but does not automatically make them heroes. Those who lived are survivors and I wish them health and peace.

I will continue to "dare" to question TSA procedures and policies, as well as the actions of TSA employees who violate the rights, property, and persons of everyone who wants to get on a commercial plane.

Anonymous said...

I knew you would receive the "challenge" post, however it is , thankfully, a minority. I travel regularly, go through the security posts, am treated with great courtesy 99.9% of the time and appreciate that is possible with the hassle they deal with all the time. I give myself time to get through any lines and take a few deep breaths. I pray we do not return to the incompetence of privately hired so-called security guards who had no idea what they were doing, paid little or no attention, could usually have been overpowered by a two-year old and did not speak English. No prejudice, just unrealistic, when dealing with a populace that doesn't isn't often bilingual either.

So my prayers to the family and thanks to all TSA personnel for the jobs you do.

Anonymous said...

Condolences and much sympathy to his family. My respect goes out to this brave man.

Wintermute said...

"Education" said...

"May THE SOLDIER REST IN PEACE."

Was Mr. Hernandez a soldier? My condolences to him and his family, but TSOs are no more soldiers than they are law enforcement officers. He may have been one before joining the TSA, but this article does not mention it.

Globehunters said...

our most felt condolences to the family. So sorry this has happened.

MsThankuverymuch said...

I am a sibling of a TSA TSO. I hope that now the passengers and anyone who has any business to conduct at LAX will be more mindful of these officers and their job. They are human just like you and I. I will continue to pray for you all.

To the Hernandez family, I pray that God continues to bless you with strength, courage, love, peace, protection and his grace. God bless you and prayers will continue to flow your way.

REST IN PEACE GERARDO I. HERNANDEZ

RB said...

It is always a shock to us when peacekeepers are so violently attacked.

..............................

TSA screeners are no peacekeepers. I think that function rests with the UN forces.

TSA workers screener people and baggage for WEI. Nothing more is listed in their mandate.

Anonymous said...

'Madero' said, "I worked with TSA '@'SAT for 6 Years, best bunch of guys and they worked long hours and did good work. I never had problems with them as I was a Uniformed Officer and Instructor for the Airport Police after doing 35 years with SAPD. My heart goes out to them and for their loss. I enjoyed all the TSA Officers I meet and would always back them them up. God Bless You all for your Service and All of you are in our prayers.

"I have a lot of respect for TSA they work long hours and did a Great Job, I was a Uniformed Police Officer at SAT for 6 years and made many friends with TSA. My Heart goes out to each of you for Your Loss of a Fellow Brother in the line of Duty. Our Prayers are with you and Families. I was with SAPD for 35 years and I know the feelings all of you have for this Great Loss. All of you are in my Prayers Always Be Safe!"


I would appreciate the highlighted top results not being from my local airport, when I could care less about someone double posting in my area.

Anonymous said...

Madero seems to have made more than one duplicate post.

Anonymous said...

Armed Federal Officers at every security checkpoint across America is a serious mistake. For one thing, Federal Officers enforcing local or State Law creates a serious constitutional issue.

The death of Officer Hernandez does demand a serious review of how Airports protect the screening checkpoints. Local Law Enforcement must be a large part of a partnership between agencies. Local Prosecutors and Police agencies MUST take the assault of a TSO seriously.

Anonymous said...

"Thank you, TSA - haven't found anyone who does a bad job!"

You haven't heard about the TSA employee who called in threats at LAX a few months ago or the TSA employees who stole iPads in Boston, have you?