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Purple Heart Family Support: Terminology

Purple Heart Family Support™ Purple Heart Family Support: Terminology

What is a casualty?

The word casualty can be a very frightening term for families to hear. It is good to know that the term actually has several meanings. A casualty is any person who is lost to the organization by reason of having been declared beleaguered, besieged, captured, dead, diseased, detained, duty status whereabouts unknown, injured, ill, interned, missing, missing in action, or wounded.

(Source: DoD Joint Publication 1-02 and Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1300.18

When a servicemember is killed, injured, gets sick, or is hospitalized, he or she becomes a “casualty.” The servicemember is then further categorized by and reported according to his/her casualty type and the casualty status. Casualty type is the term used to identify a casualty as either a hostile casualty or a non-hostile casualty. Casualty status is the term used to classify a casualty for reporting purposes. According to DoD Joint Publication 1-02, there are seven casualty statuses:

Basic Definitions You Should Know:
A servicemember who has incurred an injury due to an external agent or cause, other than the victim of a terrorist activity, is classified as Wounded in Action (WIA). This term encompasses all kinds of wounds and other injuries incurred in action, to include penetrating wounds, injuries caused by biological or chemical warfare agents, or the effects of exposure to ionizing radiation or any other destructive weapon or agent. A person who is not a battle casualty, but who is lost to the organization by reason of disease or injury, is classified as Disease and Non- Battle Injury (DNBI). This category also includes servicemembers who are missing when the absence does not appear to be voluntary or who are missing due to enemy action or internment. When someone is wounded in action or has an illness or disease, they will be further categorized in one of the following statuses: