Family Friends: Trey Atwater Loves His Country 01/02/12
CBS 7 News –Reporter
January 2, 2012
Midland, TX - CBS 7 spoke with neighbors and family friends who say Trey Scott Atwater is a family man who is in love with his county and are still seeking answers to the big question: Why did he bring explosives to an airport.
In March of 2010, Staff Sergeant Trey Scott Atwater was welcomed with cheers and flags at the Midland International Airport after his second tour in Afghanistan.
Since then, Atwater completed three tours total.
At that same airport early Saturday morning, he was arrested for having military-grade explosives in his carry-on bag.
The airport was evacuated and Atwater was taken into FBI custody.
Now many questions are left unanswered.
“I don't know what happened or why or how it's just sad for him and his family,” neighbor Bruce Moore said.
The Green Beret was born and raised in Midland. Moore says Atwater was part of a state championship football team at Midland Lee High School back in 1999.
Neighbors say he grew up in this neighborhood. His mother’s home has a flag posted in the garage way.
Moore says the entire community was in support of Atwater when he decided to join the military after high school.
“We were proud of him for playing Lee State Championship Football, we went to all the games,” Moore said, “We were also proud of him when he joined the army and served our country like he did.”
“He was a friend of mine growing up and we never got in trouble, we were always playing like kids would do,” said childhood friend Charles Winsted.
Winsted also spoke highly of Atwater and his family.
“Every time I went to Trey’s house, his mother was very kind and sweet, and I knew his grandparents and they were the best, they treated me like I was one of their own,” Winsted said.
Winsted says even in high school his friend made good grades, and this weekend's news came as a surprise.
“As we find out about what actually happened and what the details were I’m sure it'll shed some light and ease a lot of people,” he said.
There is still no official word on if the explosive had detonation wires, but Winsted says it’s hard to believe a soldier would harm the people he was trying to protect.
“He was all about Country first they have a flag hanging in front of their house right now,” Winsted said. “He believed in The United States of America and the flag.”
Many offices like FBI and the Transportations Safety Administration were closed for the federal holiday.
Officials still haven not answered the question of what were his intentions.
Arraignment is set for Tuesday.
CBS 7 - Reporter
PBWHC (Permian Basin Welcome Home Committee) Sent CBS 7 this information March 17, 2010 when Atwater was on his way home from his second tour in Afghanistan:
SSgt. Trey Atwater, US Army:
Arrival date: Friday, March 19, 2010
Staff Sgt. Atwater returned to Ft. Bragg, NC, at the end of January, after completing his second tour in Afghanistan.
“He was coming home to visit his mother and will be accompanied by his wife Tamra, and two sons,” Vikki Gomez with PBWHC said.
SSgt. Atwater is a Green Beret (US Army Special Forces).
He is tentatively scheduled for a 3rd tour of duty in Afghanistan in July. 2010.
He is a graduate of Midland Lee 1999.
CBS 7 - Reporter
Associated Press News Release:
MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — Authorities have charged a member of the U.S. military who was arrested after trying to go through a security checkpoint at a Texas airport with explosives in military-grade wrapping, the FBI said Sunday.
Trey Scott Atwater, 30, was stopped at security at the Midland International Airport about 9 a.m. Saturday. FBI spokesman Mike Martinez said Atwater is being held at the Midland County jail and has been charged with trying to bring explosives onto an airplane.
He will remain in custody at least until his arraignment Tuesday, given that the courts are closed Monday for the holiday, Martinez said.
Atwater and his wife and family had been visiting relatives in the area and were on their way back to his base in North Carolina, according to local media reports.
Public records searches list addresses for Atwater at Fort Bragg and indicate he continues to have relatives in Midland, though there was no answer at phone numbers given in both locations. He had a reservation on Flight 3283 operated by American Eagle, which had a scheduled departure of 9:45 a.m. Saturday.
It's unclear whether Atwater was in military uniform at the time he was detained, or how many explosives were in the bag.
City of Midland spokeswoman Tasa Watts said Saturday that she had no information on the suspect, but confirmed the explosives were in military-grade wrapping. She said the specific grade wouldn't be known until the explosives were tested.
The Transportation Security Administration issued a statement saying one of its officers spotted a suspicious item in a carry-on bag during X-ray screening. The agency said the checkpoint was closed for about an hour while officers investigated and removed the item.
Watts said Atwater was entering a terminal when he was stopped, and a sweep was done to clear that terminal before normal operations resumed.
Court records show Atwater pleaded guilty in February 2002 in North Carolina to misdemeanor possession of a container of wine, liquor or beer by an unauthorized person, and to drinking beer/wine while driving.