In a stunning reversal, the U.S. Army decided late Thursday to retain a decoratedGreen Beret it had planned to kick out after he physically confronted a local Afghan commander accused of raping a boy over the course of many days.
Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland confirmed the Army's decision to retain him when reached by Fox News, which has been covering the story in depth for the past eight months and first broke the story of the Army's decision in August to kick out Martland over the incident, which occurred in northern Afghanistan in 2011.
"I am real thankful for being able to continue to serve," said Martland when reached on the telephone by Fox News. "I appreciate everything Congressman Duncan Hunter and his chief of staff, Joe Kasper, did for me."
As first reported by Fox News, while deployed to Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, Martland and his team leader confronted a local police commander in 2011 accused of raping an Afghan boy and beating his mother. When the man laughed off the incident, they shoved him to the ground.
Martland and his team leader were later removed from the base, and eventually sent home from Afghanistan. The U.S. Army has not confirmed the specifics of Martland's separation from service, citing privacy reasons, but a "memorandum of reprimand" from October 2011 obtained by Fox News makes clear that Martland was criticized by the brass for his intervention after the alleged rape. Asked for comment in September 2015, an Army spokesman reiterated, "the U.S. Army is unable to confirm the specifics of his separation due to the Privacy Act."