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 http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jppersonelseriespubs.htm and Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1300.18 http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/html/130018.htm)
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:
- Duty status-whereabouts unknown (DUSTWUN)
- Very seriously ill or injured (VSI)
- Seriously ill or injured (SI)
- Incapacitating illness or injury (III)
- Not seriously injured (NSI)
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:
- Very Seriously Injured (VSI): the casualty status of a person whose injury/illness is classified by medical authorities to be of such severity that life is imminently endangered.
- Seriously Ill or Injured (SI): the casualty status of a person whose illness or injury is classified by medical authorities to be of such severity that there is cause for immediate concern, but there is no imminent danger to life.
- Incapacitating Illness: person whose illness or injury requires hospitalization, but medical authority does not classify as very seriously ill or injured or seriously ill or injured; the illness or injury makes the person physically or mentally unable to communicate with the next of kin.
- Not Seriously Injured (NSI): the casualty status of a person whose injury or illness may or may not require hospitalization but not classified by a medical authority as very seriously injured (VSI), seriously injured (SI), or incapacitating illness or injury (III); the person is able communicate with the Next of Kin (NOK).
- Duty Status-Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN): A transitory casualty status, applicable only to military personnel, that is used when the responsible commander suspects the member may be a casualty whose absence is involuntary, but does not feel sufficient evidence currently exists to make a definite determination of missing or deceased.This is a project of MarineParents.com, Inc. All text, logos, and names are copyright © to MarineParents.com, Inc. No part of the content may be copied or reproduced without prior written consent.