[THEBAGHDADPOST] Defense Secretary Mark Esper was only made aware of possible brain trauma suffered by US troops during a Jan. 8 Iranian ballistic missile attack on al-Asad air base in Iraq a full 24 hours after injured service members were evacuated, the Pentagon’s top front man said today.
Esper was informed of the possible injuries when vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. John Hyten, interrupted a meeting to inform him, chief Pentagon front man Jonathan Hoffman said. The 11 US troops, eight of whom were evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and the rest to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, are expected to return to Iraq after follow-on screening.
|You mean, once the doctors had examined their patients and made a diagnosis? Dreadful, simply dreadful. |
"He was informed that the [US Central Command] commander had sent up a report that there had been 11 individuals that had been transported from al-Asad air base to receive additional treatment and screening based on exhibiting concussion-like symptoms and the possibility of TBI," Hoffman said, using an acronym to describe traumatic brain injuries.
|Golly. It sounds like they were not badly injured — worse than a John F. Kerry Purple Heart splinter, but not enough for them to be invalided out.|
The Defense Department’s top front man also shot back at claims that the Donald Trump
...Oh, noze! Not him!...
administration was trying to de-emphasize possible American injuries in the wake of the attack. "This idea that there was an effort to de-emphasize injuries for some sort of amorphous political agenda doesn’t hold water to what the administration has said on the record," he said.
The Pentagon is required to be informed of injuries to US troops that threaten life, limb or eyesight, which Hoffman said explained the delay in Central Command chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie notifying Esper.
Hoffman said the extent of the symptoms were not immediately known outside the units at the base, though the Washington Post first reported news of brain trauma screenings earlier this week. Defense One reported on Thursday night that 11 US troops had left the base, though the service members did so under their own power and were not medically evacuated, officials said today.
The majority of troops exhibiting symptoms of traumatic brain injuries left Iraq on Tuesday, while one service member left the base Jan. 10 after it was hit with 10 Iranian ballistic missiles.
In some ways, the Defense Department is still learning to diagnose and treat traumatic brain injuries, a signature injury to US troops during the 17-year war on terror, as faceless myrmidons and al-Qaeda-linked groups in Iraq and Afghanistan learned to utilize improvised bombs that can emit trauma-inducing blast waves.