US President Donald Trump and other top officials initially said Iran’s attack had not killed or injured any American service members.
Last week the US military said 11 American troops had been treated and transferred out of Iraq for concussion symptoms after the attack on the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq and this week said additional troops had been moved out of Iraq for potential injuries.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters that 17 service members diagnosed had already returned to duty in Iraq, Reuters reported.
Eight service members who had been previously transported to Germany had been moved to the United States and would receive treatment at either Walter Reed military hospital or their home bases.
Hoffman said the service members were being treated on an outpatient basis and were transported back to the United States in order to be closer to their pre-deployment bases.
Nine service members remain in Germany and are undergoing evaluations and treatment.
Hoffman said the military had seen symptoms like headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light and nausea.
On Wednesday, Trump appeared to play down the injuries, saying he “heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things.”
Pentagon officials have said there had been no effort to minimize or delay information on concussive injuries, but its handling of the injuries following Tehran’s attack has renewed questions over the US military’s policy regarding how it deals with suspected brain injuries.
While the US military has to immediately report incidents threatening life, limb or eyesight, it does not have an urgent requirement to do so with suspected traumatic brain injury, or TBI, which can take time to manifest and diagnose.
Hoffman said US Defense Secretary Mark Esper had directed the Pentagon to review the process for tracking and reporting injuries.
“The goal is to be as transparent, accurate and to provide the American people and our service members with the best information,” Hoffman said.
On January 8, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) launched a missile attack Ain al-Assad in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, in retaliation for the US assassination of Lt. General Qassem Soleimani.
Fifteen missiles rained down on the airbase, none of which were intercepted by the US army’s radar systems.
General Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was the deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and a number of their entourage were killed in a US drone strike on January 3.
The White House and the Pentagon claimed responsibility for the assassination of General Soleimani in Iraq, saying the attack was carried out at the direction of Trump.