Stuart Scheller, the U.S. Marine lieutenant colonel who was relieved of his command for posting a video calling out military leadership over their handling of Afghanistan, said in a new video on Sunday that he’s not backing down. In his new video, Scheller called on others to follow his lead, stating, “Follow me and we will bring the whole fucking system down.”
In his original four-and-a-half-minute video, Scheller specifically called out Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David H. Berger, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
In the new video, Scheller confirmed he had been relieved of his command, but that he is still an active-duty Marine. He then went on to announce that while he could still have a future in the service, he was ready to give that all up to keep pressing senior military leaders for accountability. “I’ve come to a place where I feel at peace with making some further statements, and that’s the purpose of this video.”
“Currently I am not pending legal action,” Scheller added. “I think the plan was to hide me away for three years, let an investigation take place but not send me to a board of inquiry where they would have separated me on other-than-honorable conditions. So I had the choice where I could remain silent, keep my retirement for three years and quite honestly live the dream for not many responsibilities.”
Scheller explained his reasoning for calling out leadership in such a public manner as his now-viral video. He said earlier in his career, one of his superiors — Col. Thomas K. Hobbs — had been relieved of his command for raising complaints within the discretion of the military chain of command.
“[Hobbs] was just shuffled out the door without really affecting any change,” Scheller said.
Scheller noted Hobbs had commented on his original video, which Scheller posted on LinkedIn account on Thursday. Hobbs commented, “If Scheller was truly honorable, he would have resigned his commission in protest after stating what he did.”
Scheller then announced he would in fact resign his officer’s commission, effectively offering to give away his full military retirement.
“I want to make the announcement today, after 17 years, I’m currently not pending legal action, and I could stay in the Marine Corps for another three years,” Scheller said. “But I don’t think that’s the path I’m on. I’m resigning my commission as a United States Marine, effective now. . . I am forfeiting my retirement, my entitlements, I don’t want a single dollar, I don’t want any money from the VA, I don’t want any VA benefits. I’m sure I’m entitled to a hundred percent. I breathed in the smell and smoke of burning shit for years. I don’t want any of it.”
Scheller added, “All I asked for was accountability of my senior leaders when there are clear, obvious mistakes that were made . . . had they done that, I would have gone back into rank and file, submitted, and accomplished what I wanted.”
“The morning after I posted my video and I came into work, my boss came in and he asked me ‘what were you trying to accomplish?'” Scheller said. “And that was a very tough question for me and my response was ‘I want my senior leaders to accept accountability.’ I think them accepting accountability would do more for service members and [post traumatic stress disorder] and struggling with purpose than any other transparent piece of paper or message. And I haven’t received that.”
Scheller then said the potentially two million dollars and equivalent dollar costs from VA benefits he would be eligible for with a full military retirement should instead be used to pay senior military leaders, “Because I think they need it more than I do, because when I’m done with what I’m about to do, you all are going to need the jobs and the security.”
“To all the congressmen, senators, every media station across the globe, to all the rich philanthropists, I appreciate the support and I’m going to need your support,” Scheller said. “. . . I don’t need a single dollar. I just need every single person that’s willing to go back outside the wire every single day, to wear a blue collar and to go into work every single day and feed their families, those are the people that I need. Follow me and we will bring the whole fucking system down.”