Wounded in action

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Wounded in action (WIA) describes combatants who have been wounded while fighting in a combat zone during wartime, but have not been killed. Typically it implies that they are temporarily or permanently incapable of bearing arms or continuing to fight. [1]

Wound injury where the skin is torn

A wound is a type of injury which happens relatively quickly in which skin is torn, cut, or punctured, or where blunt force trauma causes a contusion. In pathology, it specifically refers to a sharp injury which damages the dermis of the skin.

Combat purposeful violent conflict, typically refers to armed conflict or melee

Combat is a purposeful violent conflict meant to weaken, establish dominance over, or kill the opposition, or to drive the opposition away from a location where it is not wanted or needed.

War Organised and prolonged violent conflict between states

War is a state of armed conflict between states, governments, societies and informal paramilitary groups, such as mercenaries, insurgents and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces. Warfare refers to the common activities and characteristics of types of war, or of wars in general. Total war is warfare that is not restricted to purely legitimate military targets, and can result in massive civilian or other non-combatant suffering and casualties.

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For the U.S. military, becoming WIA in combat generally results in subsequent conferral of the Purple Heart, because the purpose of the medal itself (one of the highest awards, military or civilian, officially given by the American government) is to recognize those killed, incapacitated, or wounded in battle.

The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the president to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after April 5, 1917, with the U.S. military. With its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit, which took the form of a heart made of purple cloth, the Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to U.S. military members – the only earlier award being the obsolete Fidelity Medallion. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York.

Military organized body primarily tasked with preparing for and conducting war

A military is an armed force typically officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, intended for warfare, and other tasks and responsibilities according to state interests and policies, with its members identifiable by their distinct military uniform. It may consist of one or more military branches such as an Army, Navy, Air Force and in certain countries, Marines and Coast Guard. The main tasks of the military are usually defined as defence of the state and its interests against other states and external armed threats, also in some cases to act as support to civil authorities in combating security threats. Beyond that, the military may be employed in additional sanctioned and non-sanctioned functions within the state, including internal population control, the promotion of a political agenda, emergency services and reconstruction, protecting corporate economic interests, social ceremonies and guarding important areas and persons. The military may also function as a discrete subculture within a larger civil society, through the development of separate infrastructures, which may include housing, schools, utilities, logistics, health and medical, law, food production, finance and banking.

A civilian is "a person who is not a member of the military or of a police or firefighting force". The term "civilian" is slightly different from a non-combatant under the law of war, as some non-combatants are not civilians. Under international law, civilians in the territories of a party to an armed conflict are entitled to certain privileges under the customary laws of war and international treaties such as the Fourth Geneva Convention. The privileges that they enjoy under international law depends on whether the conflict is an internal one or an international one.

NATO's definitions

Wounded in action

A battle casualty other than killed in action who has incurred an injury due to an external agent or cause. The term encompasses all kinds of wounds and other injuries incurred in action, whether there is a piercing of the body, as in a penetrating or perforated wound, or none, as in the contused wound; all fractures, burns, blast concussions, all effects of biological and chemical warfare, the effects of exposure to ionizing radiation or any other destructive weapon or agent. [2]

Casualty (person) member of military personnel that becomes unavailable for duty

A casualty in military usage is a person in military service, combatant or non-combatant, who becomes unavailable for duty due to several circumstances, including death, injury, illness, capture or desertion.

Killed in action (KIA) is a casualty classification generally used by militaries to describe the deaths of their own combatants at the hands of hostile forces. The United States Department of Defense, for example, says that those declared KIA need not have fired their weapons but have been killed due to hostile attack. KIAs do not come from incidents such as accidental vehicle crashes and other "non-hostile" events or terrorism. KIA can be applied both to front-line combat troops and to naval, air and support troops. Someone who is killed in action during a particular event is denoted with a (dagger) beside their name to signify their death in that event or events.

Biological warfare use of biological toxins or infectious agents with the intent to kill or otherwise neutralize enemies as an act of war

Biological warfare (BW)—also known as germ warfare—is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with the intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war. Biological weapons are living organisms or replicating entities that reproduce or replicate within their host victims. Entomological (insect) warfare is also considered a type of biological weapon. This type of warfare is distinct from nuclear warfare and chemical warfare, which together with biological warfare make up NBC, the military initialism for nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare using weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). None of these are considered conventional weapons, which are deployed primarily for their explosive, kinetic, or incendiary potential.

Died of wounds received in action

A battle casualty who later dies of wounds or other injuries received in action, after having reached a medical treatment facility. [2] In the United States the acronym used is DOW, while NATO uses DWRIA.

NATO Intergovernmental military alliance of Western states

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO’s Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.

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Combat stress reaction acute stress disorder that involves neurotic reactions to unusual, severe, or overwhelming military stress

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Coalition casualties in Afghanistan

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Battle of Boz Qandahari

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References

  1. iCasualties: Iraq Coalition Casualty Count. See the middle of the page to see info on the types of wounded.
  2. 1 2 "AAP-06, NATO Glossary of terms and definitions" (PDF).

See also

Missing in action military casualty classification used for military persons missing during active service due to apparently involuntary reasons

Missing in action (MIA) is a casualty classification assigned to combatants, military chaplains, combat medics, and prisoners of war who are reported missing during wartime or ceasefire. They may have been killed, wounded, captured, or deserted. If deceased, neither their remains nor grave has been positively identified. Becoming MIA has been an occupational risk for as long as there has been warfare or ceasefire.

Prisoner of war person who is held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict

A prisoner of war (POW) is a person, whether combatant or non-combatant, who is held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates to 1660.