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Green Beret’s Career Saved

Martland

By Debbie Gregory.

Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland’s Army career changed course during his second deployment to Afghanistan in 2011.

The Green Beret was facing discharge for 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.

Called bacha bazi, or “boy play,” the custom is practiced in Afghanistan and Iraq. Academics say the abuse of these “tea boys” is a product of sexual repression in traditional cultures and also poverty, as it is poor children who are usually preyed upon.

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.

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.

After a fight to save his career, the Army has reversed from an earlier decision that raised ire in some corners, including U.S Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, who introduced legislation on the soldier’s behalf.

Hunter, who led the fight to save Martland’s career, praised the Army’s move.

“They did the right thing. We finally kind of broke through the bureaucratic bulls–t barrier that they’ve created,” Hunter said. “This lets me know that there are people in the Army and the Defense Department and (acting Army Secretary) Patrick Murphy … they understand warfare. It’s not a game.”

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, wrote to the Army on Martland’s behalf. The Veterans of Foreign Wars organization also advocated for the soldier.

Justice has prevailed for an outstanding soldier who did the right thing for the right reasons.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

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.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.