US awards 29 Purple Hearts for brain injuries in Iran attack

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Iranian missiles struck al-Asad base on the 8th of January. (REUTERS)
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Purple Heart medals are awarded to any US service member killed or injured in the line of duty. (The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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Updated 04 May 2020

US awards 29 Purple Hearts for brain injuries in Iran attack

  • Over 100 US servicemen were injured when Iran launched ballistic missiles at a US base in Iraq

WASHINGTON: Six Army soldiers who were injured in a ballistic missile attack in Iraq in January have been awarded Purple Hearts, and 23 others have been approved for the award and will get them later this week, US Central Command said Monday.
Navy Capt. Bill Urban said the awards were approved by Lt. Gen. Pat White, the top US commander in Iraq, following a review.
About 110 US service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after the Iranian ballistic missile attack at Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq on Jan. 8.
Initially, commanders and President Donald Trump said there were no injuries during the attack. But after several days, troops began exhibiting concussion-like symptoms and the military started evacuating some from Iraq.
Trump triggered criticism when he dismissed the injuries as “not very serious” and described them as headaches and other things.
Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, became a bigger concern for the military in recent years as more and more troops in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars began suffering from head injuries from bombings and other explosions.
Medical science improved its understanding of its causes and effects on brain function. It can involve varying degrees of impairment of thinking, memory, vision, hearing and other functions. The severity and duration of the injury can vary widely.
According to Urban, the first six Purple Hearts were given to soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait. The other soldiers are in the United States and will get their awards in the coming days. He said 80 service members were considered for the awards, and each recommendation package submitted by unit leaders was evaluated by a review board based on Army and Air Force regulations.
Urban said that a TBI diagnosis doesn’t automatically qualify a service member for a Purple Heart.


Police clear climate protesters from square near Swiss parliament

Updated 41 min 25 sec ago

Police clear climate protesters from square near Swiss parliament

  • State broadcaster SRF showed video of police leading protesters away from Federal Square
  • Protesters, from various environmental campaign organizations, erected the camp in the heart of Bern’s political center

ZURICH: Police began removing protesters seeking more action against climate change from a square near the Swiss parliament building in Bern early on Wednesday after the group that had set up tents refused to heed a city order to leave.
State broadcaster SRF showed video of police leading protesters away from Federal Square. Removal was likely to last for several hours because some had chained themselves to objects including bicycles and metal fencing, requiring fire department employees to use cutting tools.
The protesters, from various environmental campaign organizations, erected the camp in the heart of Bern’s political center on Monday to highlight demands for Switzerland to do more to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2030.