The Pentagon said Friday that 34 USA troops were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries suffered in this month's Iranian missile strike on an Iraqi air base, and that half of the troops have returned to their military duties. As we've discussed, the next morning, Donald Trump delivered a unusual speech, littered with unnecessary falsehoods, though the president stressed an important bottom line. "We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases".
Initially the Pentagon had said that there were no injuries or fatalities as a result of the Iranian missile attack on the base that is home to 2,000 service members.
Days later, officials said more had been sent out of Iraq for further diagnosis and treatment, but the Pentagon did not provide firm figures on the total or say whether any had been returned to duty.
The one American sent to Kuwait has since returned to duty in Iraq.
US President Donald Trump said on the morning after the missile attack that no US troops were harmed. "Over the last two weeks, we have seen a persistent and dedicated effort by our medical professionals in Iraq, Kuwait and Germany to diagnose any and all members who need assistance".
The Pentagon said "Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against United States military and coalition forces in Iraq". Another missile landed outside Irbil, but without the same destruction.
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At least one of the missiles at al-Asad struck just yards from a bunker with a service member in it, said Major General Alex Grynkewich, a senior USA commander for the United States mission in Iraq and Syria, during a briefing with reporters on Tuesday.
Last week the U.S. military said 11 USA troops had been treated for concussion symptoms after the attack on the Ain al-Assad airbase in western Iraq and this week said additional troops had been moved out of Iraq for potential injuries.
The airbase was targeted in retaliation for the U.S. killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad on January 3.
"The goal is to be as transparent, accurate, and to provide the American people and our service members with the best information about the tremendous sacrifices our warfighters make", Hoffman said.
The exact nature and severity of the apparent brain injuries suffered has not been publicly released.