Speaking Truth to Power for Green Beret Sergeant First Class Martland


Skip Ash

February 1, 2016

4 min read

Human Rights



We’re taking direct action in defense of a war hero who honorably came to the aid of a child facing unthinkable sexual abuse.

Sergeant First Class (SFC) Charles Martland could be kicked out of the Army any day now.

Why? Because this Green Beret war hero, awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valor, refused to look the other way when he was told that a young Afghan boy was being sexually assaulted and raped by a local Afghan police commander who worked alongside the U.S. troops everyday.

Before he took any action, SFC Martland and his commanding officer confronted the accused Afghan commander with the allegations. The commander not only admitted that he was raping the boy, he acted surprised that SFC Martland would even be concerned.

That did it. As any normal person with a moral compass would react, SFC Martland and his commander exercised the force necessary under the circumstances to stop these unconscionable and evil acts. 

Part of the Green Beret mission was to win the hearts and minds of the local Afghan villagers and tribesmen. Yet, the local populace was beginning to turn on the U.S. soldiers because they viewed America’s Afghan allies as “worse than the Taliban” given their open and notorious sexual assaults on young boys. Further, when the boy’s Mother complained, she was beaten by the very same thugs.

American soldiers are trained to defend the defenseless. American soldiers are expected to do what is right irrespective of the challenges. American soldiers are bound by a code of honor and selfless service. Accordingly, Sergeant Martland acted consistent with his training and ensured that the Afghan police commander would never commit such a perverted act around U.S. forces ever again.

And now he could be days from being kicked out of the U.S. Army.

This miscarriage of justice is disgusting. Nearly 200,000 of you have spoken up for SFC Martland. And now, on behalf of all of you, U.S. law, and higher moral law, we are sending legal letters to the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1; the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army; the Secretary of Defense; and President Obama, on SFC Martland’s behalf.

After detailing the facts and timeline, the U.S. Military policies concerning sexual abuse of children, and how sexual abuse of children is universally recognized as criminal, all four letters conclude similarly to the following letter to the President:

Mr. President, what happened to SFC Martland in 2011 was a travesty.  That travesty is being compounded by the Army QMP Board’s decision to separate a decorated and devoted United States warrior from the Army’s ranks because he was wrongly reprimanded for taking decisive and forceful action to stop the repeated rape of a young Afghan boy at the hands of a corrupt Afghan leader.

SFC Martland’s brave actions halted ongoing felonies recognized in the UCMJ. His actions halted ongoing criminal actions recognized under Afghan law.  His actions halted ongoing felonies condemned by international law.  Yet, it was he who turned out to be the one who was punished; he was both relieved and reprimanded.  That is unconscionable.

Mr. President, it is not SFC Martland who acted amiss in what he did.  It is the persons who promulgated and enforced a policy that violated U.S. law, Afghan law, and international law who acted amiss.  Rather than separate SFC Martland for his honorable service, we respectfully urge you to require the Secretary of Defense to seek out those who promulgated and enforced such a despicable policy and remove them.  SFC Martland acted honorably in protecting the Afghan boy from further sexual assault.  That is more than can be said of those morally obtuse persons in his chain of command who promulgated and enforced a policy that subjected untold numbers of innocent Afghan children to sexual slavery and abuse in violation of U.S., Afghan, and international law.

We are aggressively pursuing our multi-pronged advocacy on behalf of SFC Martland. Sign our petition, contact your Members of Congress, and share the word.

Justice depends on it.