US Troops Suffered Traumatic Brain Injuries in Iranian Missile Strike: Pentagon

Clay Curtis
January 25, 2020

Hoffman said those troops are among a total of 34 American servicemembers diagnosed with TBI after the al Asad airbase where they were stationed in Iraq was hit by missiles fired by Iran on January 8. Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., wrote senior Pentagon officials yesterday requesting additional details on casualties from the attack.

"No, I don't consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I've seen", the president added. Of the troops sent to Germany, eight are still there, while nine have been brought back to their home bases in the U.S.to continue treatment.

Last week the U.S. military said 11 USA troops had been treated for concussion symptoms after the attack on the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq and this week said additional troops had been moved out of Iraq for potential injuries.

Half of the service members have returned to duty, while the remaining 17 service members have been flown to Germany and the United States for further observation.

A picture taken on January 13 during a press tour organised by the US -led coalition fighting the remnants of ISIS, shows a view of the damage at Ayn al-Asad military airbase housing USA and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar after an Iranian missile attack avenging the assassination of Revolutionary Guard Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani.

"This is a snapshot in time", he said, citing the nature of brain injuries and the fact that symptoms do not always present themselves right away. Many were in bunkers before almost a dozen Iranian ballistic missiles exploded. "I've seen people that were horribly, horribly injured in that area, that war".

President Donald Trump initially said no USA service members were injured or killed - a discrepancy that the military says happened when some symptoms were not immediately reported or became known days later.

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After the Iranian missile strike on the airbases, Trump announced sanctions against Iran and pushed for a de-escalation in the region. The tensions have eased since then.

"I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things", Trump said.

Hoffman said that of the 34 with TBI, 18 were evacuated from Iraq to United States medical facilities in Germany and Kuwait, and 16 stayed in Iraq.

Regulations for receiving a Purple Heart award require that an injury caused by an enemy action that is diagnosed and treated by a medical professional be of such gravity that it removes the victim from duty for at least 48 hours.

No one was killed in the attack on Ain al-Asad.

On Friday morning, Defense Secretary Mark Esper directed the Pentagon's acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, Matthew Donovan, to begin working with the staff of the Joint Chiefs to review how military injuries are tracked and reported - not just TBI cases but battlefield injuries of all kinds, Hoffman told reporters.

"The goal is to be transparent, accurate, and to provide the American people and our service members with the best information", Hoffman said.

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