Sgt. Trey Scott Atwater is charged with a federal count of attempting to board an aircraft with an explosive device.
The charges against Atwater stem from a December 31st incident, where Transportation Security Agents say they found 5 pounds of C-4 explosives in Atwater's carry-on luggage during a security screening at Midland International Airport. The explosives were reportedly in two 2.5 pound bundles in Atwater's backpack.
The terminal at Midland International Airport was evacuated after the incident, and Atwater was detained and arrested. He was released on bond and given a military escort back to North Carolina on January 6th.
Atwater, 30, is an army green beret and has served three tours with a Special Forces Group as a demolitions expert in Afghanistan -- with the most recent tour ending in May 2011. He has extensive field experience in the military with C-4, which is a military-grade explosive that can blow off door hinges and destroy material.
Atwater -- who's a Midland native and a Lee High graduate -- was returning to his home in Fort Mills, NC after visiting family in the Tall City when the incident occurred. He claimed that he didn't know the explosives were still in his backpack.
An ensuing F.B.I. Investigation has corroborated Atwater's claims. The investigation also indicates that the incident was an honest mistake, and not a criminal act
Investigators say that the C-4 Atwater was reportedly caught with came from a lot number that was exclusively shipped to Afghanistan and Iraq. Investigators also determined it was common for soldiers in Atwater's unit to carry at least two blocks of C-4 while on missions -- although that was not the case for soldiers of active duty.
Atwater's work record also shows that he has been an above-average soldier in many respects, with "excellent" ratings in most individual categories, and recent overall ratings of "among the best." Nothing in his records raises questions about his stability.
Even if the charges against Atwater are dropped, he could still face administrative measures from the United States Army.