The U.S. military has retracted a statistic indicating guards at the Guantanamo Bay prison suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at twice the rate of combat troops. Army Col. John Bogdan, commander of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay’s Detention Group, made the claim in a Nov. 17 “60 Minutes” broadcast.
That number came as a surprise. Military spokesmen have maintained there is no way to measure PTSD diagnoses of all service members who have worked as guards. Since the prison opened, troops culled from across the branches of the military –Army, Navy, Marines, National Guard, Reserve, Military Police – have served in guard shifts ranging from 6 to 24 months long. The rotations and the troops’ various combat experiences made it impossible to determine the cause of PTSD claims, according to spokesmen from both the military and Veterans affairs.
“Col. Bogdan was mistaken about twice the level of PTSD among JTF personnel,” US Southern Command Public Affairs Chief Col. Greg Julian said in a statement. “There are no statistics that support the claim of twice the number of troops diagnosed with PTSD.”
The Army has conducted studies on soldiers assigned as guards to Guantanamo Bay. A 2011 study that concluded “these service members were nearly twice as likely (though not actually diagnosed) to screen positive for moderate to severe post-traumatic stress as soldiers surveyed in previous studies who had recently redeployed from Iraq or Afghanistan,” Col. Julian stated.
’60 Minutes’ correspondent Lesley Stahl and her team received unfettered access to the restricted prison block Echo 5 in September. Two months later, “60 Minutes” aired Col. Bogdan’s statement.