Jacksonville, NC – The U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who is facing charges for criticizing military leaders’ handing of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was given a conditional release from the brig on Tuesday ahead of his court martial.
In the video, Scheller said he was willing to risk his retirement to demand honesty, integrity, and accountability from his commanders.
Scheller questioned in the video that was posted the same day 13 U.S. service members were murdered by suicide bombs at the Kabul airport whether anybody above him had questioned the wisdom of the Biden administration’s plan for the withdrawal of troops before they executed it.
“I’m not saying we’ve gotta be in 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 the strategic airbase before we evacuate everyone?’” the career-marine officer asked in the video.
“Did anyone do that? And when you didn’t think to do that, did anyone raise their hand and say ‘we completely messed this up?’” he asked.
Scheller said U.S. military leadership has continue to repeat the same mistakes and were “not holding up their end of the bargain.”
“I have been fighting for 17 years. I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders, I demand accountability,” the military veteran ended his tirade.
Scheller, who was battalion commander for Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at School of Infantry East at Camp Lejeune, posted the next day that he had been relieved of his command, according to Task & Purpose.
Then he posted a questionable resignation video on Aug. 29 during which he called for people to “follow me and we’ll bring the whole f—king system down.”
“I’m resigning my commission as a United States Marine, effective now,” Scheller, who is only three years away from retirement, said in the video.
“I am forfeiting retirement, all entitlements. I don’t want a single dollar,” he said.
The Marine Corps put out a statement shortly after the resignation video posted that it had taken steps to “ensure the safety and well-being of Lt. Col. Scheller and his family,” according to Task & Purpose.
Scheller put out a YouTube video on Sept. 16 during which he pledged to file charges against the head of the U.S. Central Command for his mistakes made during the troop withdrawal, then posted on Facebook that he would charge Marine General Kenneth McKenzie Jr. with 13 specifications of “Dereliction of Duty through Culpable Inefficiency,” Task & Purpose reported.
He ended that post by noting he expected to be arrested for his actions.
“What happens when all you do is speak truth and no one wants to hear it. But they can probably stop listening because… I’m crazy… right?” Scheller wrote. “Col Emmel please have the MPs waiting for me at 0800 on Monday. I’m ready for jail.”
Scheller’s father, Stu Scheller Sr., told Task & Purpose that the military had put his son in pre-trial confinement because they didn’t want him to be able to talk to the public.
“All our son did is ask the questions that everybody was asking themselves, but they were too scared to speak out loud,” his father told Task & Purpose. “He was asking for accountability. In fact, I think he even asked for an apology that we made mistakes, but they couldn’t do that, which is mind-blowing.”
Scheller was three days from retirement when he was relieved of his command and placed in confinement, FOX News reported.
“My son is an exemplary Marine and he has been for 17 years,” his mother, Cathy Scheller, said in an interview. “He knew that everyone else felt the same way. He thought if he took the lead, others would stand up and call for accountability. They did not. So he is taking the full brunt himself.”
The U.S. Marine Corps confirmed that Scheller was being released on Oct. 5, FOX News reported.
“Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr. is being released from confinement today, Oct. 5, 2021, as a result of a mutual agreement between Lt. Col. Scheller, his Defense counsel, and the Commanding General, Training Command,” said U.S. Marine Corps Captain Sam Stephenson, the spokesperson for the Training and Education Command, said. “No additional details regarding the agreement may be released at this time.”