Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Reps. Buchanan, Hunter Introduce Resolution to Reinstate War Hero

Sep 30, 2015
Press Release
Sgt. Martland Dismissed From Service After Confronting Child Rapist

Lawmakers Urge Colleagues to Stand with Decorated Green Beret

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, and Duncan Hunter, R-CA, today introduced a House resolution calling for the immediate reinstatement of a decorated Green Beret who blew the whistle on child rape by U.S. military allies in Afghanistan.

Sgt. First Class Charles Martland confronted an American-backed Afghan commander in 2011 “for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.” A New York Times article quoted several soldiers saying they were instructed to observe the different cultural standards of Afghans and report any problems to Afghan authorities.

But Sgt. Martland chose to confront an Afghan local police commander who admitted raping a young boy and then beating his mother for telling the U.S. military. Instead of commending Sgt. Martland, the Army has forcibly retired him.  He is set to be discharged from the Army on Nov. 1.

“Driving Sgt. Martland out of the Army for standing up for American values is a national disgrace,” Buchanan said. “Now is the time for the U.S. House to demand Sgt. Martland be reinstated for his honorable actions in defense of innocent children.”

Hunter, a Marine Corps veteran who has tirelessly advocated on behalf of Sgt. Martland over the past few months, said, “The fact that Sgt. Martland was reprimanded by the Army for confronting a corrupt Afghan commander and child rapist shows a complete lack of morality among the Army’s risk-averse leadership.”

The House resolution would be non-binding, but would send a strong message to the Pentagon that its actions in the Martland matter are unacceptable.

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.”

“The only people who should be punished are the ones who condoned a policy of ignoring child rape on a U.S. military base,” Buchanan said. “It’s bad enough if we were ignoring this type of barbaric and savage behavior, it’s even worse if we are punishing American heroes who try to stop it.”

Hunter added, “Sgt. Martland’s experience has not only renewed attention on the issue of child rape in Afghanistan, but it has revealed severe flaws in the integrity of the investigations process and the methods for retaining the highest caliber soldiers. There is new evidence that the Afghan commander exaggerated his injuries to retaliate against the Green Berets in the area at the time, and other information not previously considered—because it was either overlooked or ignored—further substantiates the moral and legal obligation to intervene.  In this one instance, Sgt. Martland was able to do what Army leaders and the Afghan legal system could not.  He sent a message to a corrupt Afghan commander in terms that were sure to translate.  For that, Sgt. Martland should be commended and reinstated.”

Buchanan has appealed to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey to reverse the Pentagon’s policy and to the leaders 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. 

Text of resolution here