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Army Guardsman's Death at Fort Knox an "Isolated Incident"

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The death of an Indiana National Guardsman who died while receiving treatment at Fort Knox was an anomaly that was quickly addressed. At least that's the case if you listen to the Secretary of the Army Pete Geren.

"Thankfully, so far it has proven to be an isolated incident," Geren told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday. "We took steps to address it."

Sgt. Gerald Cassidy, who suffered head injuries in a roadside bombing in Iraq, died Sept. 21 in an Army medical facility at Fort Knox, Ky. An autopsy performed for his family indicated he had been dead for hours before he was found by hospital staff and that he may have been unconscious for two days before that.

At the hearing, Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) told Geren:

"By all indications, the enemy could not kill him, but our own government did. Not intentionally, to be sure, but the end result apparently is the same."

Cassidy's death came on the on the heels of a GAO report slamming the Pentagon's treatment of wounded veterans.

According to the GAO,

46 percent of the Army's returning service members who were eligible to be assigned to a (medical) unit had not been assigned due in part to staffing shortages.

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The GAO report found Fort Knox's medical facilities were severely short staffed, but it wasn't the worst.

Over half of the military's special "Wounded Warrior Transition Units" had staffing short-falls of more than 50 percent. Key bases like Fort Lewis in Washington and Fort Carson in Colorado were short massive amounts of doctors, nurses, and squad leaders.

Did you know?

The Pentagon reports the grand total of U.S. killed, wounded, injured, and ill for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars reached nearly 67,000 at the end of July 2007.

How well do you know your facts about U.S. veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan? Take the War Comes Home "Did You Know?" Quiz and find out!

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warcomeshome.org

Pacifica radio network reporter Aaron Glantz is author of the new book "How America Lost Iraq" (Tarcher/Penguin). More information at www.warcomeshome.org

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