Sleyman cannot bear abandoning Ayla, and does everything within his power to take her with him. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.

He’d been fighting to prove it ever since two young women accused the former history instructor at the U. Naval Academy of having sex with them while they were students.

One of the women said the 2011 liaison — amid a drunken night of strip poker at his Annapolis home — was consensual and part of an ongoing relationship. None of it was true, Thompson said as we sat at a quiet table inside the Hay-Adams hotel bar called Off the Record — ironic, considering how eagerly he wanted The Washington Post to write about the way the military had handled his case.

The two form an instantaneous and inseparable bond, and Ayla, almost effortlessly, brings an uncanny joy to the Turkish brigade in the grip of war.

As the war comes to a close however, Sleyman's brigade is told that they will be returning home.

In the coming months, as I sifted through hundreds of documents and interviewed people across the country, I’d discover that government authorities had made significant blunders.

Naval investigators had missed vital clues, and prosecutors had failed to call key witnesses at the court-martial while also presenting false arguments at the trial and board of inquiry hearing.

He stood 5 feet 7 but appeared taller, largely because he looked the way you expect a Marine to look: square jaw, strong chin, crew-cut hair.

Thompson risked his life during deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan, taking fire on his way to Baghdad and once narrowly escaping an explosive that detonated behind his unarmored vehicle.

While serving, he also earned a master’s degree in history that led to an extraordinary opportunity: a three-year stint teaching at the renowned service academy.

During that first meeting at the Hay-Adams in April 2015, Thompson, now 46, came across as determined, intelligent and, at moments, desperate.

At his court-martial, a nine-member jury had acquitted Thompson of the sexual assault charge but still found him guilty of five lesser offenses, including conduct unbecoming an officer, indecent conduct and fraternization.