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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