Nearly $2.5 million has been raised on behalf of Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, a Marine officer who was recently fired and jailed after publicly calling for top military officials to be held accountable for the Afghanistan withdrawal disaster that resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. troops.
As of Monday morning, $2,463,944.52 has been raised by the Marine officer’s supporters through over 32,000 donations. The fundraiser was arranged by Pipe Hitter Foundation, a nonprofit created by retired Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who faced his own military legal battle over the death of an ISIS fighter.
Scheller is currently locked in the Regional Brig for Marine Corps Installations East abroad Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The date, time and location for his trial have not been set.
In an interview with Fox News last week, Scheller’s parents said their son was imprisoned for “speaking truth to power, and power couldn’t handle it.”
“They put him under a gag order. They took away his right to post, to talk on social media, to email, to text,” Scheller Sr. told Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “He shared it with America. And he knew this weekend, when he posted again and he broke his silence, that they were probably going to arrest him on Monday. So, he is a very intelligent man. He understands what’s going to happen to him.”
Scheller first caught the public’s attention on August 26, when he posted a video calling for senior military leaders to be held accountable for the deadly Afghanistan withdrawal.
“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,’” Scheller said in the video.
Scheller acknowledged that he would likely lose his command position and his military retirement for his comments.
“I want to say this very strongly. I have been fighting for 17 years,” Scheller said. “I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders, ‘I demand accountability.’”
In a second video, Scheller said he would try to bring a court-martial case against Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), over allegations of dereliction of duty.
“To recap my position, in the fallout of Afghanistan I demanded accountability in my senior leaders and I stated then that I understood that I might lose my battalion commander seat, my retirement and my family’s stability,” Scheller said in the second video. “As it has played out, I have in-fact lost all three of those things.”
“I know you are a great American,” Scheller continued, addressing Gen. McKenzie. “I know you didn’t intend to fail. I know you have served very honorably and are probably a great leader. That doesn’t absolve you from the accountability of your bad assumptions.”
According to a Marine Corps spokesperson, while Scheller has not been officially charged, four charges are likely to be considered in his hearing: Article 88, contempt toward officials; Article 90, willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer; Article 92, failure to obey lawful general orders; and Article 133, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.