Sarasota U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan called on the Pentagon Wednesday to reinstate decorated war hero Sgt. Charles Martland, who was punished for standing up to a child rapist in Afghanistan.
Martland, a Green Beret and Bronze Star recipient, has been given until May 1 to appeal his separation from the service. He was booted from the Army for beating the suspect in a child rape case in Kunduz province, Afghanistan, in 2011. He was flagged for involuntary separation through the Army’s qualitative management program because of his role in the assault.
Martland was originally scheduled to leave the Army no later than Nov. 1, 2015, after 11 years in the service. In October, he was granted a 60-day reprieve by then-Army Secretary John McHugh.
McHugh agreed at the time to postpone Martland’s discharge to allow the soldier to file an appeal with the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records.
“The Pentagon needs to stop dishonoring a two-time Bronze star recipient and reinstate Sgt. Martland immediately,” Buchanan said in a statement.“It is unfathomable that the Pentagon has yet to reinstate Sgt. Martland. 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.
The Sarasota Republican 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 the current policy came to be and which individuals were responsible for its implementation.