In 2015, the New York Times published an article that described how Army SFC Martland and Army CPT Quinn struck an Afghan Local Police (ALP) commander who had raped a young Afghan boy prior to also beating the boy’s mother. After being told previously by their command to ignore similar egregious actions committed by the ALP commander, SFC Martland and CPT Quinn reached their breaking point when confronting the ALP commander, only to have him dismissively laugh off the incident. “He confessed to the crime and laughed about it, and said it wasn’t a big deal. Even when we patiently explained how serious the charge was, he kept laughing,” Quinn said.
As a result of his moral courage to defend a rape victim, SFC Martland is now facing an involuntary separation from the Army in spite of a stellar Special Forces career. This type of decision by U.S. military leaders—to attack their own while defending the enemy, in this case an admitted child rapist—is becoming more prevalent within the U.S. command climate. This type of spineless, corrupt leadership is put on display when senior military leaders decide that a misguided effort to “win the hearts and minds” of foreign nationals is more important than supporting American troops who make a correct judgment call in serious situations.
As was stated in the NYT article, Rep. Duncan Hunter has been fighting to save Martland’s Army career. Included in this article are screenshots of several letters sent to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on the matter, in addition to a letter to the inspector general (IG) referenced in the NY Times report. As mentioned in the letters, a “gag order” meant to prevent media coverage of the subject was recently imposed by elements in the Army. Though an official recently dismissed the idea of a gag order being put in place, correspondence obtained by Rep. Hunter’s office confirms it was, in fact, ordered of the men in that chain of command.
This tactic for keeping service members quiet is commonly used by senior military leadership, such as with the case involving MARSOC Fox Company, who were falsely accused of murdering innocent Afghan civilians in March of 2007. In the MARSOC case, the gag order was disguised as a “protective order” meant to ensure that the hearing would be “fair and impartial” (shown below). What it is really meant for is keeping things quiet, so as not to refute the narrative being set by the leadership.
Each of the letters from Rep. Hunter have been made available for SOFREP readers to see for themselves. Let’s hope that Secretary of Defense Carter and Army leadership listen to Rep. Hunter’s request to make the right decision and drop all charges against SFC Martland, who acted courageously in defense of an innocent child and mother.
Let us also hope that more leaders will speak out against injustices such as the one being perpetrated against SFC Martland. If they do not reverse direction on this case for SFC Martland, how much longer will men and women of the Unites States Armed Forces continue to risk their personal freedom to make the right decision? Making the right choice is only going to become more difficult unless a change is made at the highest levels of our military.