Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller, the U.S. Marine officer who caught viral attention for his videos and social media posts demanding accountability from senior military leaders over their handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, has been charged with six offenses and will now be court-martialed.
U.S. Marine spokesman Cpt. Sam Stephenson confirmed to The Independent that Scheller had been charged on Wednesday. The Washington Times reported Scheller’s charges include contempt toward officials; disrespect toward superior commissioned officers; willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer; dereliction in the performance of duties; failure to obey an order or regulation and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. The charges against Scheller were referred by Maj. Gen. Julian Alford, who heads Marine Training Command.
The charges come a day after Scheller was released from a military brig after a weeklong stay.
Scheller first earned viral attention for a video he made on the same day that 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suicide bombing attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, which was then being used as the evacuation point for Americans and Afghans leaving the country. In his original video, Scheller said, “People are upset because their senior leaders let them down and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability and saying ‘we messed this up.’”
In a subsequent video, Scheller said he was seeking a way to bring charges against Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), for dereliction of duty.
Scheller had continued to criticize military leaders in other videos and social media posts before he was reportedly subjected to a gag order. In a September 25 Facebook post, Scheller criticized Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as retired Generals James Mattis, David Petraeus and Michael Flynn.
In his September 25 post, Scheller also criticized Alford, writing, “To General Alford adjudicating my legal situation. When I briefed you in July you said, ‘We have an entire generation of LtCols who don’t know how to make decisions. They feel the need to ask permission.’ Ask Tom and Sung, they were there. My generation is sick of being bullied. Maybe my generation knows a little bit more than you think. We’ve watched you play politics for 20 years. You thought we were too stupid to learn?”
According to a statement from Scheller’s lawyers shared with retired U.S. Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, Scheller has requested to resign his commission in lieu of a trial.
Gallagher’s Pipe Hitter Foundation has been fundraising for Scheller. As of Wednesday, the foundation has raised more than $2.5 million to assist Scheller with legal fees as well as emergency relief, family support, relocation and other financial support as Scheller faces the possible loss of his military benefits and a transition out of the military.