- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 30, 2020

Several dozen U.S. troops who suffered traumatic brain injuries during a Jan. 8 Iranian attack on an American military base in Iraq are expected to become Purple Heart recipients.

It is believed that 110 military personnel in the wake of the missile barrage suffered the injury that can cause crippling concussions, but it remains unclear how many will receive the award.

Pentagon officials told CNN on Wednesday the decision was “extremely sensitive” because the injuries were initially dismissed by President Trump as “not very serious” following the attack.

The Iranian ballistic missile attack on Al Asad Air Base came just days after a U.S. airstrike killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and brought the U.S. and Iran to the brink of war. But Mr. Trump ultimately decided against direct military retaliation.

Part of the president’s rationale was that no Americans were killed or seriously wounded in the Iranian assault — a rationale that has been challenged by the Pentagon’s estimate of injuries, which at first were reported at about 34.

“The Purple Heart submissions remain under review and are being processed in accordance with Defense Department and Military Service regulations,” Jessica Maxwell, a Defense Department spokeswoman, told the news outlet.

“Upon completion, service members entitled to receive the Purple Heart will be notified by their leadership,” she said.

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