David Wood
Oct. 25, 2012
Huffingtonpost.com

WASHINGTON — More than 50,000 Americans have been combat-wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001, a grim measure of the cost of more than a decade of war.

According to Defense Department accounting, the number of wounded reached 50,010 on Thursday.

The names of the wounded are not released. Unlike those killed in combat, whose names are released and whose remains are brought home in sober, white-glove ceremony, those who are wounded are flown home on medical evacuation aircraft and carried off on stretchers in anonymity.

Among the wounded are some 16,000 severely injured, casualties who would have died on the battlefield just a generation ago. But new medical procedures, protective gear such as body armor and faster medical evacuation are saving more than 90 percent of all those who fall in battle.

According to the U.S. Army surgeon general’s office, military surgeons have performed 1,653 major limb amputations since 2001.

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