The U.S. Army has retained a decorated Green Beret that it had planned to kick out for confronting an Afghan commander accused of sexually abusing a child.
Sgt 1st Class Charles Martland will be allowed to stay in uniform, months after he was punished for roughing up a local police commander in Afghanistan who allegedly confessed to raping a child and then beating the child’s mother for telling authorities.
The incident took place in 2011 in northern Afghanistan. In August, the Army announced it was planning to boot Martland.
According to the Army Times:
He was to be booted out of service, a casualty of the Army’s Qualitative Management Program, an involuntary separation measure for soldiers with black marks on their records. Since then, the soldier has been fighting to remain in the Army.
“I am real thankful for being able to continue to serve,” Martland told Fox News, which broke the story, on Friday. “I appreciate everything Congressman Duncan Hunter and his Chief of Staff, Joe Kasper did for me.”
Martland got high-profile supporter from a number of people, including “Bad Lieutenant” and “Pulp Fiction” actor, Harvey Keitel. Last week, he issued a statement about Martland.
“[W]hen I was a young Marine I understood we were present in order to help others who did not have the wherewithal to protect themselves,” Keitel wrote. “Whomever owns the idea that decided to reprimand these two men instead of giving them a medal for their actions should be asked what the hell they would’ve done if it was their child in question …”
The Army Board for Correction of Military Records reviewed his case and decided to remove him from the QMP list, which means that it “will allow him to remain in the Army,” Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jerry Pionk said.
Martland previously admitted to having lost his cool in 2011 during his deployment in Konduz Province when he and his captain struck a local police commander after he allegedly confessed.
Martland received a blemish on his record that flagged him for involuntary separation from the Army. He appealed the decision and contacted several high-profile supporters, including Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and veterans groups.
When he wrote to Hunter, Martland said the Afghan commander laughed off his concerns about his conduct. He and his partner then threw the commander to the ground and then kicked and body-slammed him until he ran away.
The other Green Beret, Capt. Daniel Quinn, was removed from his command, and he later left the Army.
“This is not just a great victory for SFC Martland and his family—I’m just as happy that he can continue to serve our country and inspire his peers, subordinates and officers to be better soldiers. Charles makes every soldier he comes in contact with better and the Army is undoubtedly a better organization with SFC Martland still in its ranks,” Quinn told Fox News.
Hunter praised the decision.
“They did the right thing. We finally kind of broke through the bureaucratic … barrier that they’ve created,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “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,” Hunter added.