Thirty-four U.S. soldiers have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after the Iran missile strike on Iraqi bases late last month, the Pentagon said Friday.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman broke down the movement of the soldiers as symptoms of their injuries became apparent. Of the 34 total, 18 soldiers were evacuated from Iraq. Of those 18, 17 went to Germany for treatment and nine of them are still there. The other eight traveled to the United States from Germany. The last member of the 18 evacuees went to Kuwait, but has since returned to duty.
The other 16 soldiers were treated in Iraq and have since returned to duty.
Hoffman declined to specify what branches of the military the soldiers belong to.
President Donald Trump dismissed the suspected injuries Wednesday as “headaches.”
“No, I don’t consider them very serious injuries, relative to other injuries that I’ve seen,” Trump said during a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “I’ve seen people with no legs and no arms.”
Trump, who famously claimed bone spurs to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War, was loudly rebuked by veteran organizations for his dismissiveness.
Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told the Wall Street Journal that Trump’s comments were “really counterproductive because we’ve worked for the last decade-and-a-half to highlight and educate people about the invisible injuries of war.”
“He really displayed remarkable ignorance about what could be the signature injury of our generation,” he added.