Marine officer receives reprimand for Afghanistan criticism

Published 8:26 am Sunday, October 17, 2021

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A military judge issued a reprimand for a Marine lieutenant colonel and ordered him to forfeit $5,000 in pay Friday for his criticism of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, his attorney said.

The decision from Col. Glen Hines followed the guilty plea Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller entered Thursday during a special court-martial at Camp Lejeune. Scheller faced six charges, including contempt toward officials and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.

Scheller now awaits a decision on whether he will be honorably discharged from the Marines or be given a general discharge under honorable conditions, according to his attorney, Tim Parlatore. Marine regulations define a general discharge under honorable conditions as one that acknowledges acceptable service with an instance of misconduct.

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“We’re very happy with the results,” Parlatore told The Associated Press. “The judge was very well reasoned as he considered all the evidence. I think he gave a very intelligent sentence and reasoning for his sentence.”

Parlatore said Scheller is “both relieved and satisfied” about the judge’s ruling.

“He made a decision to bring attention to these issues at the expense of his own career,” Parlatore said. “There is a sense of satisfaction that, at least, what he sacrificed his career for, which is to get this message out, that it was heard.”

Parlatore said that in going through Scheller’s service record, the judge made a strong case for the secretary of the Navy giving him an honorable discharge.

“In the meantime, he’s going to finish up his time in the Marine Corps and figure out what the next chapter holds for him,” Parlatore said.

In an Aug. 26 video posted on Facebook, Scheller said he was willing to risk his career to call out military leaders regarding the withdrawal from Afghanistan after 13 U.S. troops were killed in Kabul.

“I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders: I demand accountability,” he said in the video while wearing a camouflage uniform.

Scheller followed that comment with a series of social media posts, including an Aug. 29 video in which he resigned his commission and said “follow me and we will bring down the whole … system.” On Thursday, he said that remark was meant “in a constitutional manner.”

The videos made Scheller well-known in conservative political circles. He got support from two Republican members of Congress through their testimony on his behalf Thursday. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia testified by teleconference and Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas gave his support in person, The Daily News of Jacksonville reported.