Eleven members of the U.S. military who were stationed at the al-Asad airbase where Iranian ballistic missiles were launched toward earlier this month reportedly suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI) from the attack.
Previously, the Pentagon and the Trump administration had said that there were no casualties or injuries from the attack. However, TBI symptoms can oftentimes present themselves several days after injuries occur, so initial reporting may not have been able to account for them having occurred.
U.S. Central Command spokesman Navy Captain Bill Urban acknowledged the injuries on Friday, Military Times reported.
“While no U.S. service members were killed in the January 8 Iranian attack on al-Asad Air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” Urban said.
A Pentagon spokeswoman also acknowledged the injuries, noting that they were likely undetectable at the time of the attack or even days afterward.
“Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury “often do not fully materialize themselves until days after an injury and thus often require continued monitoring and follow on care,” Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah said, according to ABC News.
But some, including Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, believe the administration purposely misled the American people about the extent of injuries resulting from the attack.
The Trump Administration must immediately do right by these servicemembers and answer why it misled the American public and Congress. https://t.co/wD9TM29VuE
— Marcy Kaptur (@RepMarcyKaptur) January 17, 2020
Ten of the troops injured were removed from the base on Wednesday of this week. One of the servicemembers who was injured had been transported two days after the attack occurred.
The attack from Iran happened in direct response to an order from President Donald Trump to assassinate Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani earlier this month. After the ballistic missiles from Iran hit two military bases in Iraq, Trump announced that he was “pleased to inform you the American people” that no casualties had happened.
The lack of casualties likely helped Trump come to the decision to take economic rather than militaristic retaliatory measures against Tehran.