Air wing Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Simkus must have never heard the old adage about shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater.
The young devil dog and joke-enthusiast from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, was on his way home to visit family for the Thanksgiving holiday when he found himself in what he perceived to be the perfect situation to test out some explosive new material.
Only, no one else in the security line at Charlotte, North Carolina, Douglas International Airport found Simkus’ bit about hiding C-4 among his belongings amusing.
The Marine’s Black Friday trip home took a significant detour when Simkus allegedly went through security at lunchtime and told TSA it should “check his shoes for the plastic explosive C-4,”, WWAY News reported.
For some odd reason, Transportation Security Administration Agent Dillan Hinkle did not find a joke about jeopardizing transportation security hilarious.
Simkus, who is a member of Marine Tactical Air Squadron 29, was subsequently taken into police custody for further questioning.
During an interrogation, police were able to ascertain the young Marine was, in fact, aware of what C-4 is. The joke, Simkus claimed, was simply a product of being in such a jovial state over the prospect of going home to see family.
Who doesn’t make a good bomb joke when familial merriment is on the horizon?
“We are aware of the incident involving LCpl. Joseph Simkus, and his subsequent arrest," Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point officials said in a statement to WWAY.
“We are working with local authorities to ensure a thorough investigation. We will take further appropriate actions pending future court appearances and any potential rulings.”
Simkus is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 20, where the part-time comedian will inevitably have even more audience members to test out new jokes.
AUTHOR’S NOTE (and confession): While the circumstances surrounding this Marine’s arrest were unique in its avoidable nature, I can’t knock Lance Cpl. Simkus all that much.
That’s because, at 19 years old, Lance Cpl. Simkins (J.D. type ― the name similarity here threw me off) was briefly detained at Washington, D.C.'s Ronald Reagan National Airport due to some suspicious contents in my daypack. (Yes, I was one of those boots lugging a digital daypack through an airport. 'Rah.)
My detention, though, came as a total surprise. I already had flown home through the San Diego airport with the same bag, the contents of which hadn’t changed during my 96-hour visit. As it turns out, I had forgotten to empty the smaller section of the bag in the hurried hours between leaving a field op at Camp Pendleton, California, and trying to get to my flight in San Diego. Somehow, no red flags were raised going through security in California.
Imagine my surprise when I was pulled into an interrogation room in D.C. and showed about a half-dozen 5.56 rounds, the deflected projectile of a .50 cal round I had found in Twentynine Palms, a piece of shrapnel I had planned to use as a bookend, and a 7-inch Ka-Bar.
I was fortunate to get out of the situation by appealing to TSA’s belief that I was, indeed, just a simple moron. In any event, I think we can all agree on two things: One, this is worse than the offense committed by poor Lance Cpl. Simkus. And two, do better, San Diego security.
On behalf of the lance corporal underground, best of luck, Simkus.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.