34 US soldiers injured in Iran missile attack to get Purple Heart?

The Pentagon confirmed 34 personnel were diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury after the Iranian missile attack.

The Pentagon has officially revealed that 34 US servicemen are suffering Traumatic Brain Injury(TBI) following the missile attack that happened earlier this month in Iraq. Some of the servicemen from the troops who were diagnosed with TBI arrived in the US on Friday.

Johnathan Hoffman, a Pentagon spokesman, said that seventeen soldiers were still under medical observation. Some of the servicemen were flown to the US and Germany for treatment following the missile attack on the US bases in Iraq.

The officials had to revise the claims made by the President of the United States at least three times following the announcement he made on January 8 after the missile attack on the US bases in Iraq.

A member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards checks a missile inside an underground depot in an undisclosed location, Iran, in this handout photo released by the official website of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on March 8, 2016
Representational Image Reuters

Eight servicemen arrive in the US

Hoffman said that eight out of the 34 US servicemen who suffered TBI arrived in the US. They are part of the larger contingent that was diagnosed with TBI. On asking about the servicemembers' condition during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Trump said that there was nothing to be worried about because it was not anything serious. There are varying reports on the number of troops that were actually affected.

There are service members in Germany who are still under treatment and evaluation. The troops who have returned to the US will be going through outpatient treatment. One personnel was treated in Kuwait for their injury and has returned to duty, while 16 others who were diagnosed with TBI and stayed back in Iraq have also reported to duty.

Hoffman said that the reason for the reevaluation of the number of individuals who were diagnosed with TBI changed because the symptoms took time to develop. "What we saw was the number of people who were initially screened for concussion-like symptoms that showed up at one of the medical providers on the base saw their conditions improve rapidly," he told the reporters. "Others we saw their conditions didn't improve — some got worse and had severe enough symptoms that they were transported on for further treatment."

Do they qualify for the Purple Heart?

Hoffman was non-committal when asked whether the members would receive the Purple Heart. TBI qualifies as an injury that deserves military decoration but Hoffman said that the decision will be taken in due time. Regulations say that if the person is not able to get back on duty after 48 hours because of the severity of the injury, they are eligible for the military decoration.