Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller called for the responsibility of senior military and civilian leaders for the failures in Afghanistan, in a video he posted on social media platforms. (United States Marine Corps)
A naval officer who criticized military and civilian leaders over the evacuation in Afghanistan in a widely shared video this summer has been dismissed from his post, he said on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller had mixed emotions after being released from the service on Thursday, he said in the post giving the Marine Corps credit for “forging me into a man” and thanking those who ” have served, directed, bled and suffered by my side “throughout his 17 year career.
But the now former infantry officer also accused the Marine Corps of slandering him, among a list of other “defeats” that followed his demand for accountability from senior officials for the failures of the military. nearly 20 years’ war, just hours after a bomb attack on August 26. in Kabul killed 13 American soldiers.
Scheller received a general discharge on honorable terms, the lowest qualification allowed under a plea deal reached at his court martial in October, he said. He also lost his retirement benefits.
In an emailed statement on Saturday, a Marine Corps spokesperson said Scheller was no longer on active duty and was separated on Friday.
Conservative lawmakers and critics of President Joe Biden have rallied behind Scheller after his first video. He went on to other controversial videos and posts that led to his imprisonment and ultimately court martial.
He was quickly fired from the command of the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Lejeune after the first video, later pledging to resign his commission and deny any advantage in a video recorded on a school bus in the woods from North Carolina.
The Corps quickly issued a gag order, which it defied, before taking him into custody before a special court martial in October on six counts of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
He eventually pleaded guilty to the charges of showing contempt for public officials, disrespecting and deliberately disobeying senior officers in his hierarchy, failing in office and failing to obey order or regulation, and for showing conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman. .
But Scheller said Thursday that out of respect for the top executives, he had not given any media interviews throughout the ordeal.
Now, he said, he plans to start a media blitz by starting with a Jan. 4 appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox, he said. Carlson has lambasted the military in recent months for its handling of the war in Afghanistan, its perceived politicization and progressivism.
In his latest post, Scheller said he has expanded his social media accounts and announced the launch of his AuthenticAmericans.com website.
At trial, he said his life degenerated after the first video, as his wife left him, fellow Navy officers abandoned him and the Corps opened an investigation into his actions. But he continued to post with the support of others.
âMany Gold Star families, junior enlisted Marines and members of Congress have reached out in support of my statements,â Scheller said, according to the Washington Post.
A group of 27 Republican lawmakers had asked the Corps to release it from the brig ahead of trial, and Members of Congress, Representative Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Testified at the meeting his trial. .
It was also supported by more than $ 2.5 million in donations through the Pipe Hitter Foundation, run by former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher and his wife, Andrea. Gallagher was tried on war crimes charges in 2019 and acquitted of most charges.
Scheller ultimately pleaded guilty under a deal that allowed the military judge to sentence him to a letter of reprimand and seizure of two-thirds of his maximum salary for a year – a sum that would total tens of thousands of dollars. .
He was ultimately sentenced to a letter of reprimand and $ 5,000 in lost wages, although the Corps sought to have more of his wages canceled. Scheller agreed to resign from his commission.
The Marine Judge who oversaw the trial, Col. Glenn Hines, rejected the service’s call for additional punishment and criticized the service for its handling of the situation, the Marine Corps Times reported.
Scheller has presented his actions as part of a revolution before, promising at one point to “bring down the whole (expletive) system”, although he later clarified that he intended to do so. do “constitutionally”.
His last message spoke of the American Revolution and George Washington’s organization of a surprise attack on forces allied to the British king on December 26, 1776.
Scheller plans to post one social media post per day, starting on the anniversary of that attack this year, ahead of his appearance on Carlson’s show, he said.
“The attack on December 26 was not decisive,” he said. “But as history shows, this was a turning point in the war.”