A former Guantánamo guard being discharged instead of facing a sexual-assault trial did avert a detainees suicide around the time of last years prison camp raid that put hunger strikers under lockdown, the military confirmed.
Army Col. Greg Julian, a spokesman for Southern Command, could not identify the detainee who tried to kill himself. Nor could he pinpoint the exact date of the deed in April 2013 that won Sgt. Stevontae Lacefield, 24, his Joint Service Commendation Medal.
Separately, Julian said that Lacefield was leaving the Army with an other than honorable discharge and demotion to the lowest enlisted grade, rather than a general discharge, as a U.S. Army spokesman had earlier reported.
The Pentagon awards the medal to troops who distinguish themselves by meritorious achievement or service on an assignment sponsored by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Guantánamo prison mission qualifies because the 2,100-strong staff assigned to the detention center that, as of Tuesday housed 154 war-on-terror captives is a mix of members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines as well as federally employed civilians.