The Marine colonel that went viral last month for his videos demanding accountability from his superiors for the poor Afghanistan withdrawal of troops was sentenced on Friday. Though Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller admitted guilt to six charges, he points out that, “I was never charged with a false official statement. Because everything I have said is true.”
Scheller was relieved of duty the day after he made the viral video that changed his life. He was a battalion commander, having served as a Marine for 17 years.
Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller was found guilty of violating the following Marine Articles: Article 88 (contempt toward officials), Article 89 (disrespect toward superior commissioned officers), Article 90 (willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer), Article 92 (dereliction in the performance of duties), Article 92 (failure to obey an order or regulation) and 27 specifications of Article 133 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman).
Scheller walked into court with his head held high, setting the example of accountability that he continues to demand from his senior General officers. Because he wouldn’t back down, Scheller says that the Marines attempted a smear campaign, illegally releasing his personal information to paint him as suicidal.
“I also believe that once I spoke out, the Marine Corps holistically took every opportunity to attack me and never actually cared about my well-being,” he said during the hearing. “But it’s hard for the Marine Corps to defeat someone who refuses to quit. Going forward, I am still demanding accountability from my senior General officers. Since this endeavor began, not a single General officer has accepted accountability. Not a single General officer has contacted me directly in any forum to de-escalate the situation. Since this endeavor began, I have acknowledged that I should be held accountable for my actions. I am standing here today pleading guilty. This is me accepting accountability. But it deeply pains me that my senior leaders are incapable of being as courageous.”
The prosecution sought out to penalize Scheller harshly, but the judgment included only a $5,000 fine and a punitive letter of reprimand. Nine days in the brig was enough for the judge to credit him with time served, avoiding another $5,000 penalty.
Scheller gave an official resignation on August 31, but it has yet to be accepted by the Secretary of the Navy.
According to the Marine Times, Scheller will “receive an honorable discharge or general under honorable conditions as part of the agreement, so long as Navy Secretary Carlos del Toro signs off on the character of the discharge.”
Though Scheller loses all military retirement benefits, over $2.5 million has been raised on his behalf through former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s Pipe Hitter Foundation.
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