Statement on the passing of first federal TSA employee to pass away after contracting COVID-19

National Press Release
Friday, April 3, 2020
Francis "Frank" Boccabella III in 2015 with his previous canine partner, Zmay. (TSA photo)

WASHINGTON, DC - A federal TSA employee passed away after contracting COVID-19 on April 2, 2020.

The passing of Francis “Frank” Boccabella III, a valued friend and colleague of the entire Transportation Security Administration family at Newark Liberty International Airport and the larger TSA canine community, saddens all of us deeply. His passing represents a personal loss to all of us who knew him and cherished both his friendship and professionalism.

We offer heartfelt condolences to Boccabella’s wife, extended family, his TSA colleagues and his friends.

Boccabella, 39, was an Explosive Detection Canine Handler who joined TSA at John F. Kennedy International Airport in June 2004, as a TSA officer and worked with cargo inspectors, where he screened air cargo destined for passenger aircraft. Boccabella then became a Compliance Inspector at Newark Liberty International Airport before transitioning to become an Explosive Detection Canine Handler. He was dedicated to protecting the traveling public with his canine partner, Bullet, a 6-year-old German Short-haired Pointer and his previous canine partner, Zmay. Boccabella and his canine partners screened hundreds of thousands of passengers, keeping them and the transportation network safe. 

He is the first federal TSA employee who we have after contracting COVID-19. The news of this loss strengthens our determination to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19.