The Defense Department reported on Friday that approximately three dozen U.S. service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries as a result of the Iranian missile attack on American forces earlier this month.
It has been confirmed that out of the 34 service members diagnosed with TBI, eight were initially transferred to Germany, and then to the U.S for further treatment.
Nine others remain in Germany, while one was initially transferred to Kuwait, but is back in Iraq. 16 of the injured remained in Iraq and are back on duty.
After repeated questions by the media, on Friday the Pentagon finally revealed the condition of the 34 troops who were injured. Pentagon officials said that the injured had been diagnosed with concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
The Pentagon apparently uses the terms interchangeably. According to the CDC:
“…most people with a TBI recover well from symptoms experienced at the time of the injury. Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions, which is a mild TBI.”
Finally some details on those injured in the Iranian missile strike on US bases:
34 total diagnosed with concussion/TBI
8 transferred to Germany now in U.S. for further treatment
9 transported to Germany remain there
1 to Kuwait, now back in Iraq
16 stayed in Iraq, back on duty
— Paul D. Shinkman (@PDShinkman) January 24, 2020
When questioned about the apparent delay in reporting the TBIs, the Defense Department said that these injuries are not always immediately apparent.
“Some of these conditions manifest over time, symptoms can get better and get worse. This is a snapshot in time,” said Pentagon spokesman John Hoffman.
The attack occurred on Jan. 8 against U.S. and coalition forces at al Asad Air Base and in Irbil. At the time, President Trump announced that “no Americans were harmed.”
About a week or so later, U.S. Central Command revealed that there had indeed been injuries.
“While no U.S. service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on al Asad Air Base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” CENTCOM spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement.
According to the Washington Post, 11 service members were reported by the Pentagon as having been sent out of Iraq for medical treatment.
It said that while it was unknown how many total members were receiving care outside of Iraq, the Pentagon said “additional” personnel had been sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
“The health and safety of all service members is the greatest concern for all Department leadership and we greatly appreciate the care that these members have received and continue to receive at the hands of our medical professionals,” Army Maj. Beth Riordan, a military spokesman said in a statement.
“As medical treatment and evaluations in theater continue, additional service members have ben identified as having potential injuries.”
The statement continued:
“These service members—out of an abundance of caution—have been transported to Landstuhl, Germany for further evaluations and necessary treatment on an outpatient basis. Given the nature of injuries already noted, it is possible additional injuries may be identified in the future.”
The missile attack was a response to the drone strike that killed Iranian terrorist leader Maj. Gen. Quasem Soleimani, who American officials said is connected to the deaths of hundreds U.S. troops over the past 20 years.
At the time of the attack, more than 1,000 U.S. service members were at al-Asad, according to U.S. defense officials.
After the elimination of Soleimani, President Trump was roundly criticized by Democrats, who had zero problem when President Obama ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden.
They were upset because they did not receive prior notification of the Soleimani operation, which President Trump defended due to the numerous leaks he has had to endure since he’s been president.
He likely wanted to make sure that someone like Adam Schiff didn’t tip off the Iranians to the plan.
Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman defended President Trump from criticism for his remarks the day after the attack that said no Americans had been injured.
He noted on Friday that Trump’s remarks reflected “accurate, truthful information that he received” after the attack.
Initial reporting from U.S. commanders in Iraq to the Pentagon said that no Americans had been injured, specifically none had suffered loss of life, limb, or eyesight. This complies with Defense Department reporting requirements, according to Hoffman.
On Wednesday, President Trump had minimized initial reports of injuries.
“I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things,” he told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“But I would say, and I can report, it is not very serious. Not very serious.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters that the Pentagon doesn’t normally report such injuries.
“This is mostly outpatient stuff. So, we can track that if—if you’re really interested in it.”
Speaking later in the week, Esper defended the Pentagon’s reporting of injuries while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“We’re fully committed to being transparent about what happens, but we need to make sure we’re accurate and that we categorize things properly, and that’s our commitment,” he said. And it’s not just Iraq. It’s wherever troops are engaged.”