14 More US Troops Diagnosed With Brain Injuries Following Iranian Missile Attack

Friday, January 31st 2020, 2:05 pm
By: CBS News

Another 14 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury since the Iranian missile attack targeting U.S. forces at two bases in Iraq earlier this month, the Pentagon said Thursday. The update brings the total number of U.S. troops hurt in the attack to 64.


"We'll continue to monitor them the rest of their lives, actually, and continue to provide whatever treatment is necessary," Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a statement. "We take great pride in the fact that these are our own and we're going to take care of them." 

The update marks the fourth time since the attack that the official injury toll has increased. When Iran unleashed missiles on Iraqi bases housing U.S troops three weeks ago, President Trump initially said no American service members were killed or injured. About 10 days later, the military said 11 service members were hurt. Last week, the Pentagon raised the number to 34, and then on Tuesday upped the number to 50. Now, officials say a total of 64 service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

Pentagon officials said 39 of those injured have returned to duty, while 21 have been transported to Germany for further evaluation and treatment. Seventeen are scheduled to return to the U.S. or are back already. 

Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper said that the U.S. military is a leader in the treatment and research of brain-related trauma. 

"We do everything we can to identify, treat and help our service members recover and return to duty," he said in a statement. 

Last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang asked President Trump about the discrepancies in reporting the troops' injuries. He replied that he didn't consider them "serious injuries relative to other injuries I've seen." 

"I heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things," the president said. "But I would say, and I can report, that it is not very serious."


At a Pentagon briefing last week, spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the troops' symptoms included "headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light, restlessness, nausea — so, similar symptoms that you'd see in TBI concussion." He added many TBI symptoms develop later and manifest themselves over a period of time.