U.S, Marines, traveling on NATO travel orders through Vienna, on their way to participate in a companion exercise, Saber Guardian, were held up because they did not have clearances for their weapons. The Austrian newspaper Kurier reported on its website Wednesday that the Marines were carrying weapons without the necessary clearance.
The ensuing security search of their luggage revealed M16 assault rifles and pistols, Kurier reported, which had not been declared or registered. The weapons were seized, and the Marines were taken for questioning, Kurier reported. Authorities contacted the U.S. Embassy.
The Austrian government can allow the transit of foreign troops in certain circumstances, such as peacekeeping operations or international exercises, Kurier quoted Bauer as saying. “The Americans, however, had not filed a request,” he said.
An attempt by the U.S. Embassy to file the request after the fact was rejected for legal reasons, Kurier reported. Westover said in a telephone call that the Americans had to return to their home base in Alaska.