Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller pleaded to all six charges he faced in a court-martial over his criticism of military leaders and how the Biden administration handled the withdrawal in Afghanistan.
“A military judge accepted on Thursday Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller’s plea and found Scheller guilty of all charges at his court-martial today at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune,” The Daily News reported. “Scheller’s lawyer earlier Thursday said he expects Scheller to receive a letter of reprimand. In court it was said Scheller could also forfeit two-thirds of his monthly pay, for up to 12 months. There are limitations on his potential punishment. Scheller may not be demoted, fined or punitively discharged.”
Scheller pleaded guilty to the following charges:
- Article 88 (Contempt toward officials)
- Article 89 (Disrespect toward superior commissioned officers)
- Article 90 (Willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer)
- Article 92 (Dereliction in the performance of duties)
- Article 92 (Failure to obey order or regulation)
- Article 133: (Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman)
Scheller was thrown in the brig back in late September after he violated a gag order and continued to talk about the matter.
“They had a gag order on him and asked him not to speak,” Scheller’s father said in an interview last month. “He did, and they incarcerated him. They don’t know what to do with him.”
The treatment that Scheller received in response to calling out military leaders sparked a flurry of outrage from lawmakers and across the internet. Some Republican lawmakers testified on his behalf at the court-martial, and two men who served with him overseas also testified positively on his behalf.
“If I’m willing to risk my current battalion commander seat, my retirement, my family stability, to say some of the things that I want to say, I think it gives me some moral high ground to demand the same honesty, integrity, accountability from my senior leaders,” Scheller said in a video that went viral several weeks ago. “The reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the Marine on the battlefield, let someone down, that servicemember has always rose to the occasion, done extraordinary things. People are upset because their senior leaders let them down. And none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability, are saying we messed this up.”
“If an O-5 battalion commander has the simplest live-fire incident, EO complaint. Boom. Fired,” he continued. “But we have a secretary of defense that testified to Congress in May that the Afghan National Security Force could withstand the Taliban advance. We have Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs — who the commandant is a member of that — who’s supposed to advise on military policy. We have a Marine combatant commander. All of these people are supposed to advise. And I’m not saying we’ve got to be in the Afghanistan forever. But I am saying, did any of you throw your rank on the table and say, hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Airfield, a strategic airbase, before we evacuate everyone? Did anyone do that? And when you didn’t think to do that, did anyone raise your hand and say, we completely messed this up?”
“And what I’ll say is, from my position, potentially all those people did die in vain if we don’t have senior leaders that own up and raise their hand and say, we did not do this well in the end,” he concluded. “Without that, we just keep repeating the same mistakes. This amalgamation of the economic / corporate / political/ higher military ranks are not holding up their end of the bargain. I want to say this very strongly. I have been fighting for 17 years. I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders, I demand accountability.”
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