U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller – who went viral for his videos in uniform publicly criticizing military leadership over the Afghanistan withdrawal – was discharged from the military on Thursday after 17 years of service. The discharge was processed after an unexplained two-month delay following the Marine Corps’ accepting Scheller’s resignation as part of a plea deal.
Scheller announced the official action in a Facebook post on Thursday. “I was released from the Marine Corps today, Thursday, December 23rd, 2021. I am filled with mixed emotions. I would like to sincerely thank the Marine Corps for forging me into a man. And from the bottom of my heart, I’d like to thank all the Marines who served, led, bled, and suffered alongside me the past 17 years,” he said.
Scheller also described the negative treatment he received by the military, including being slandered repeatedly, illegally held in jail, kept under gag order, denied basic treatments and due process, and now losing his career and retirement benefits.
“Was it worth it? Well… unfortunately for them… the war isn’t over. I think we just arrived at a turning point. The old system underestimated US then… and they underestimate US now,” Scheller said.
Scheller also thanked “the 40K Americans” who donated to his cause, allowing him to pay his legal expenses and help support his family as he transitions to civilian life.
Scheller originally sparked viral attention for a video he made on August 26 — the same day that 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suicide bombing attack at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan while evacuating Americans and Afghans. 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.’”
The video resulted in Scheller’s firing from his position as battalion commander of Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at School of Infantry-East, which is based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
He continued to release videos and written statements on his Facebook page demanding accountability from military leadership, including in his own chain of command. He also criticized multiple U.S. presidents who continued the war in Afghanistan.
He was taken to the brig without being charged on September 27, where he remained until October 5 when he was charged.
In October, he agreed to a plea deal and pled guilty to six misdemeanor level offenses: 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.
A military judge sentenced Scheller to receive a letter of reprimand and a loss of one month’s pay, $5,000, in addition to his plea deal arrangements to resign his commission and be discharged. While the judge said he did not condone Scheller’s actions, including contempt and disrespect for superiors, he noted Scheller’s 17 years of military service and strong record until that point.
The judge had recommended either an honorable discharge – which would’ve allowed Scheller to keep all veteran benefits he’s entitled to resulting from his military career – or a general discharge under honorable conditions, which cuts Scheller off to some benefits like retirement.
Scheller said his next step is the launch of his official website, and a media blitz beginning with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on January 4.
“Out of respect to my senior leaders, I haven’t done a single interview since this began. But now it’s my turn,” he said. “2022 is the start of a new year. It’s the start of a new generation. The lions are home from war. And we aren’t assimilating anymore.”