Defending Innocence and Paying the Price: Military Connection

Defending Innocence

By Debbie Gregory.

Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland’s Army career changed course during his second deployment to Afghanistan in 2011. And now it appears that the Army is expelling him for actions that most people would classify as heroic.

The decorated Green Beret said that he is being kicked out of the Army for losing his cool in 2011 and striking an Afghan local police officer, one who had allegedly confessed to raping a boy and then beating the child’s mother for telling authorities. Martland has served in the Special Forces for 11 years. Many of his teammates say that he is the finest soldier they have ever served alongside.

Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. said, “To intervene was a moral decision, and SFC Martland and his Special Forces team felt they had no choice but to respond.”

In a letter to Hunter, Martland said he had encountered corrupt police officials who were conducting beatings, honor killings and rapes that went unpunished. When he became aware of the atrocity that had befallen this child and his mother, Martland said it was too much.

In a memo to the Army Enlisted Records and Evaluation Center, Martland admitted to striking the Afghan.

He was punished by the Army at the time, but why exactly Martland is now being discharged is a matter of dispute.

Martland had fallen under the Army’s Qualitative Management Program, a process that can be triggered by derogatory information on their record. Though technically not a draw-down tool, it is aiding in force reduction efforts by weeding out less desirable soldiers; a black mark on their record, such as a relief for cause, can trigger a formal QMP review and result in involuntary separation.

Army sources cited his accolades, including being named runner-up for 2014 Special Warfare Training Group Instructor of the Year from a pool of 400 senior leaders in Special Forces, in questioning the decision.

The Army could not comment on the administrative decision to separate Martland, citing privacy concerns.

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