Army Human Resources Command has recommended that the Green Beret who confronted an Afghan police commander for raping a young boy be kicked out of the service.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.), who has pushed back against the Army’s decision to punish Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland, revealed the development in a letter to Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kansas) Wednesday.
“Recently, a decision within Army Human Resources Command recommended that the Army uphold the judgment that Martland be removed from service, although a final decision has yet to be made about his future,” Hunter wrote.
While serving in Afghanistan in 2011, Martland and another soldier confronted an Afghan Local police commander at an outpost for kidnapping and repeatedly raping a young boy, reportedly throwing the man to the ground and physically ejecting him from the base.
“For this action, Martland was removed from the outpost and faced reprimand. He later was allowed to reenlist, only to face a Qualitative Management Program review board in February 2015,” Hunter, a veteran Marine officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote in the letter.
“The Army argued that the black mark on his record, which states he assaulted ‘a corrupt Afghan commander,’ is cause to expel him from duty, despite the fact that he has the full support of his command and immediate leadership.”
Martland appealed the review board’s decision, but the appeal was denied outright. The Green Beret was allowed to resubmit an appeal.
According to Hunter, who has been conducting his own investigation surrounding Martland’s dismissal from the service, the Pentagon inspector general informed him that military personnel are “very supportive of [Sgt. Martland] and his efforts to remain in the U.S. Army” and that there are ongoing efforts in his command not to “inadvertently hamper his efforts.”
Martland, who Hunter labeled a “war hero,” faces an end to his service in the Army at the beginning of March 2016 if the recommendations from Army Human Resources Command are followed.
Hunter asked Roberts to consider Martland’s case during the ongoing confirmation process of Eric Fanning to Army secretary. Roberts placed a hold on Fanning’s confirmation following threats from the Obama administration to use executive action to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
“The only suitable course of action, I firmly believe, is to permit Martland to continue his service in the U.S. Army,” Hunter concluded the letter.
Hunter has advocated for Martland since the Army punished him for defending a child victim of sex abuse. Hunter and Rep. Vern Buchanan (R., Fla.) introduced a House resolution last September demanding Martland’s reinstatement.
“The Afghan justice system continually failed to uphold individual human rights, and we would expect any of our elite warriors to protect a child from a known and admitted rapist,” Hunter wrote in the letter to Roberts Wednesday.
Martland was one of multiple U.S. soldiers and Marines who were reportedly punished for blowing the whistle on Afghan forces sexually assaulting children. Gen. John Campbell, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has denied the existence of a policy instructing U.S. troops to ignore allegations of rape at the hands of Afghan forces.