A decorated Army sergeant who protected an Afghan boy from a child molester could find out any day whether his actions will end his career in the military.
Sgt. First Class Charles Martland, a Green Beret with an 11-year Special Forces career, was stationed in Afghanistan in 2011 when the boy’s mother came to him and said she’d been beaten and her son raped by a local police commander. Martland and another soldier summoned the police official and, when the man laughed at them, threw him off the base. Martland and Daniel Quinn were both disciplined for their actions.
Last year, amid military cuts, the Army Human Resources Command recommended Martland be discharged in part based on his disciplinary record, but an official decision by U.S. Army brass is expected by March 1.
“Charles did the right thing in Afghanistan by standing up to a child rapist and corrupt commander, and now it’s the Army’s turn to do the right thing and reverse the decision to expel him from the service,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., whose office has been assisting Martland. “Permitting Charles to continue serving is in the best interest of the Army and the nation.”
Supporters mounted an online petition backing Martland and separately, 93 members of Congress have called for an investigation into the military’s silence in the face of rampant sexual abuse of children in Afghanistan.
While Quinn left the military voluntarily, Martland, who graduated in 2006 from Special Forces Qualification Course, has always seen himself as a lifer. After a deployment to Iraq in 2008, he deployed to Afghanistan in January 2010 as part of a 12-man unit. He and his team found themselves fighting large numbers of Taliban militants in the volatile Kunduz Province.
Martland was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor for his actions. According to one evaluation, he also was praised by Gen. David Petraeus, then commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan.
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