JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii is a paradise for most visitors. But it was Wade Hicks, Jr.'s prison for five days.
The 34-year-old from Gulfport, Miss., was stranded in the islands this week after being told he was on the FBI's no-fly list during a layover for a military flight from California to Japan.
The episode left Hicks scrambling to figure out how he'd get home from Hawaii without being able to fly until he was abruptly removed from the list on Thursday with no explanation. It also raised questions beyond how he landed on the list: How could someone on a list intelligence officials use to inform counterterrorism investigations successfully fly standby on an Air Force flight?
Hicks said he was traveling to visit his wife, a U.S. Navy lieutenant who's deployed in Japan. He hitched a ride on the military flight as is common for military dependents, who are allowed to fly on scheduled routes when there's room.
Hicks said that during his layover at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent told him he was on the no-fly list and wouldn't be allowed on a plane.
"I said, 'How am I supposed to get off this island and go see my wife or go home?' And her explanation was: 'I don't know,'" Hicks said.
Hicks said he was shocked and thought they must have had the wrong person because he doesn't have a criminal record and recently passed an extensive background check in Mississippi to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
But the agent said his name, Social Security number and date of birth matched the person prohibited from flying, Hicks said. He wasn't told why and wonders whether his controversial views on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks played a role. Hicks said he disagrees with the 9/11 Commission's conclusions about the attacks.