Two months ago I wrote an article for this website informing you of the continued events surrounding the career of SFC Martland and how it relates to the disturbing practice of sexual abuse of young boys in Afghanistan. SFC Martland is a Bronze Star recipient and a member of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces who is set to be expelled from the Army for protecting a young boy from sexual abuse by an Afghan/Allied police commander. When the boy’s mother appealed to U.S. soldiers for help, SFC Martland and his Detachment Commander (CPT Quinn) confronted the alleged perpetrator, who had free access to the U.S. military installation. When he laughed it off, SFC Martland and CPT Quinn shoved and pushed the Afghan official and ultimately forcibly removed him from the compound.
Three years after this incident, as you may recall, SFC Martland was caught up in the reduction in Army forces by a QMP (Qualitative Management Program). Because he had been issued a Letter of Reprimand for the incident involving the young Afghan boy and the Afghan Police Commander, even though he had received a very good Non-Commissioned Officer’s Evaluation Report (NCOER) following the incident, he was informed that he would be removed from the military in 60 days.
Since that time a number of events have transpired. First, SFC Martland appealed his case to the Army’s Enlisted Special Review Board. His appeal was denied. At that point it appeared that he would be a civilian in a matter of weeks.
It was then that the ACLJ got involved. Through a petition, which many of you have already signed, a light was shined not only upon SFC Martland’s case, but also upon the accepted practice in Pashtun culture of Bacha Bazi. Bacha Bazi means “boy play,” and is the term given in Afghan culture for the practice of using young boys for sexual entertainment and pleasure. The ECLJ (Europe) also engaged the United Nations regarding this abusive practice.
Additionally, Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) became an advocate, along with the ACLJ, to save SFC Maryland’s Army career. Mr. Hunter also has introduced the Martland Act in Congress which would expand the scope of child abuse which American Service Members should intervene to stop, even if the abuse is being committed by one of our allies. This act also would include a service member’s responsibility to act to prevent forced prostitution and human trafficking.
Ninety-three members of the Unites States Senate and the House of Representatives also demanded an investigation from the Department of Defense. This bi-partisan push resulted in an investigation (which is ongoing) by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR). This IG investigation will look at the culture surrounding Bacha Bazi as well as the incident involving SFC Martland.
Three weeks ago the U.S. Army granted an extension to SFC Martland until May 1st in order for this Green Beret to complete the process of his appeal to the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records. Martland’s appeal packet to this board was submitted months ago; thus it appears that the extension until May 1st is in order to give the board more time to look at this brave soldier’s appeal. I believe that the extension given to SFC Martland, and the meticulousness that the Board for Correction of Military Records is exhibiting, has much to do with the pressure being brought to bear, not only by members of congress, but by you: The supporters of the American Center for Law and Justice.
I have some personal experience related to this particular board. A number of years ago I was given what would have been a career-ending Officer Efficiency Report (OER) by my commander. This came about because of his predecessor, my former commander, who was engaged in illegal activities of which I had knowledge. When I was asked to give a sworn statement regarding my commander and his violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), he was relieved from command and forced into retirement. This commander’s victims were also young men. His successor is the one who gave me the career-ending OER the next year, privately vowing to “get the chaplain” who had forced UCMJ action against his friend and predecessor.
Much like SFC Martland, I appealed to the Officer Special Review Board and asked that my commander’s comments be removed from my record. My appeal was denied and, like SFC Martland, I eventually appealed to the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records. They ultimately granted my request and the adverse record was removed from my file. But it was a long and arduous process that took over two years.
The name, Army Board for Correction of Military Records, is a bit misleading. It sounds as if this board works to correct material mistakes in a person’s military record. However, this board’s central purpose is different. The Army Board for Correction of Military Records is one part of the Army Review Board Agency. This board serves as the highest administrative level for review of personnel actions taken by lower levels of the Army. It has the capacity not only to correct errors, but to remove what the board identifies as injustices from Army military records after all lower level remedies have been exhausted.
This is in reality the final recourse for SFC Martland to save his career. There is a good chance that the Army Board for Correction of Military Records will see this injustice for what it is and reverse the decision of the QMP and the Enlisted Review Board. However, if they do not decide in favor of this heroic Green Beret, there is no more appeal possible. If that happens, his only hope would be for the Secretary of the Army or the President of the United States to overrule his pending discharge and keep him in uniform “for the good of the Army.” This is why your continued support of SFC Martland is still so vital and necessary. YOU make a difference. If you have not signed petition already, do so now. If you have signed it, tell other friends and family members about this abusive practice in Afghanistan and about the injustice given to SFC Martland and ask them to sign the petition.
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