Australia — Update to battle casualty count

An Aus­tralian Spe­cial Forces sol­dier and two Men­tor­ing Task Force – Three (MTF‑3) sol­diers have sus­tained minor bat­tle relat­ed wounds dur­ing sep­a­rate oper­a­tions on 23 and 24 August 2011.

The Spe­cial Forces sol­dier who sus­tained minor wounds on Tues­day 23 August received med­ical treat­ment and has since returned to duty.

The sol­dier was tak­ing part in a part­nered cor­don and search mis­sion in Tarin Kot tar­get­ing insur­gent-laid Impro­vised Explo­sive Devices (IED), when he was wound­ed.

The sol­dier con­tin­ued with the mis­sion and was extract­ed once the remain­ing ele­ments of the mis­sion were in place.

The two MTF‑3 sol­diers suf­fered the cumu­la­tive effects of four sep­a­rate IED strikes on the Bush­mas­ter in which they were trav­el­ling between 19 July 2011 and 24 August 2011.

In an IED inci­dent on 24 August, a Bush­mas­ter trav­el­ling in a resup­ply con­voy to the Charmes­tan region was struck by the blast of an insur­gent-laid IED. At the time, no Aus­tralian per­son­nel pre­sent­ed as wound­ed.

Direc­tor of Health, Head­quar­ters Joint Oper­a­tions Com­mand, Group Cap­tain Karen Leshin­skas, said two sol­diers had pre­sent­ed for treat­ment fol­low­ing delayed onset of symp­toms.

Cer­tain wounds that result from an IED strike don’t always present imme­di­ate­ly in some indi­vid­u­als exposed to a blast event,” Group Cap­tain Leshin­skas said.

These sol­diers have been diag­nosed with mild trau­mat­ic brain injury as a result of the mul­ti­ple IED blasts.”

An indi­vid­ual with mild trau­mat­ic brain injury may be dazed, con­fused or expe­ri­ence loss of con­scious­ness – even momen­tar­i­ly. The major­i­ty of cas­es recov­er ful­ly with­in 7–10 days.

The two MTF‑3 sol­diers under­went fur­ther assess­ment by spe­cial­ists at the mild Trau­mat­ic Brain Injury (mTBI) Clin­ic, at Kan­da­har.”

Both sol­diers are in a sat­is­fac­to­ry con­di­tion. One has now returned to full duty.

Defence has imple­ment­ed a web-based cog­ni­tive func­tion tool which enables pre- and post-blast inci­dent cog­ni­tive test­ing to take place.

It’s like­ly this type of injury will be report­ed with increas­ing fre­quen­cy as new test­ing meth­ods are low­er­ing the thresh­old for detec­tion. How­ev­er, this will improve the care we can pro­vide and the long-term reha­bil­i­ta­tion for per­son­nel exposed to a blast inci­dent,” Group Cap­tain Leshin­skas said.

The num­ber of sol­diers wound­ed in action in Afghanistan this year now stands at 26.

191 sol­diers have been wound­ed in Afghanistan since 2001.

Any Aus­tralian Defence Force (ADF) mem­ber serv­ing in war-like con­di­tions and hurt as a con­se­quence of action against the ene­my is clas­si­fied as ‘wound­ed.’

An ADF mem­ber hurt in an inci­dent that has not been the result of ene­my action in war-like con­di­tions is clas­si­fied as hav­ing been ‘injured.’

Media con­tact:

Defence Media Oper­a­tions – 02 6127 1999

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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