Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan To Pentagon: Reinstate Sgt. Martland – ASAP!

Mar 2, 2016
Press Release
Today’s Deadline for a Decision Extended Yet Again by Army

“Stop Dishonoring a two-time Bronze Star Recipient”

 WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, today called on the Pentagon to stop dragging its feet and reinstate decorated war hero Sgt. Charles Martland, who was punished for standing up to a child rapist in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Martland’s status has been in limbo since November, when he was originally set to be discharged from the Army for protecting children against rape while stationed in Afghanistan. The U.S. Army was set to rule on Sgt. Martland’s reinstatement appeal in January, but has now granted itself a third extension – this time to May 1 – to reach a final decision, according to press reports.

“The Pentagon needs to stop dishonoring a two-time Bronze star recipient and reinstate Sgt. Martland immediately,” Buchanan said.

Martland was dismissed from the Army after confronting an American-backed Afghan commander in 2011 “for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.” Martland has said that he felt a “moral obligation to act” during the incident.

“It is unfathomable that the Pentagon has yet to reinstate Sgt. Martland,” Buchanan said. “The Defense Department has had several months and several opportunities to right this wrong. I’m concerned that bureaucratic red tape is blocking common-sense action.”

Buchanan is also urging leaders in the U.S. House to move his bipartisan resolution (H.Res.451) to immediately reinstate Martland, saying it will send a “strong message” to the Pentagon. 

“Sgt. Martland stands ready to once again serve his country,” Buchanan said. “The Pentagon and Congress should do everything in their power to make that happen as soon as possible.”

New York Times article described a chilling Pentagon policy that told American soldiers to look the other way when Afghan allies sexually abused young boys, sometimes on military bases.

According to the Times, one soldier stationed in Afghanistan said, “at night we can hear them screaming but we’re not allowed to do anything about it.”

Buchanan has previously written to the Army Secretary to reinstate Martland; to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to reverse the policy; and to the Chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to launch a full investigation into how this policy came to be and which individuals were responsible for its implementation.

Buchanan’s legislation is supported by nearly 50 bipartisan Members of Congress as well as several of the nation’s leading veterans service organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Concerned Veterans of America, and AMVETS.