Pentagon Officials Brief Coronavirus and Iraq Missile Strike

Secretary Of Defense Mark Esper Hosts French Counterpart At The Pentagon

ARLINGTON, VA -- Secretary of Defense Mark Esper addressed the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in China. He said Defense personnel are not in direct contact with the 195 American evacuees, but they will not have access to any locations outside of their assigned housing.

The Pentagon is confirming the loss of three American soldiers killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan.U.S. forces recovered the service members' remains from the site of a surveillance plane crash in Taliban-controlled territory.

Speaking with reporters, Esper also provided the latest on brain injuries suffered by Americans during the Iraq missile strike last month.

Esper said President Trump "understands the nature of these injuries" and he is very concerned about the health and welfare of all service members.Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley said they are assessing whether to deploy more air defenses to the region.

This comes just days after the president was criticized for his description of the injuries suffered by U.S. troops in an Iranian missile strike.

Iran fired on an Iraqi air base where U.S. troops were based earlier this month, in retaliation for an American air strike that killed Iran's top military leader.Initially, Trump and the Pentagon said no Americans had been harmed, then last week military officials said eleven service members had to be evacuated because of concussions.

Trump told reporters he heard they had headaches "and a couple of other things. "Speaking at a press conference in Davos, Switzerland, the presidents said, “No, I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen. I’ve seen people with no legs and no arms.”

The head of the Disabled American Veterans said the commander-in-chief is "out-of-touch regarding the seriousness of this injury.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars organization is also taking issue with the president’s remarks. “Veterans of Foreign Wars cannot stand idle on this matter,” William Schmitz, the VFW’s national commander, said in a statement. “TBI is a serious injury and one that cannot be taken lightly... The VFW expects an apology from the president to our service men and women for his misguided remarks.” As yet, there has been no response from the White House

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