A US marine who was relieved of his duties and later resigned after he publicly criticized the US’ chaotic pull out from Afghanistan last month is being held in military prison, according to his father.
Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller gained notoriety in August when he released a public video ripping into the hasty withdrawal of US troops and personnel from Afghanistan, leaving the country to fall to the Taliban.
After several of his videos went viral, his superiors banned him from posting on social media, but the marine continued to do so before handing in a letter of resignation on August 31 – the final day of US occupation of Afghanistan.
Now, his father has revealed that the former Lieutenant Colonel has been sent to military prison, known as ‘the brig’, where he is being held as he awaits a military hearing for breaking the gag order set by his superior officers.
‘All our son did is ask the questions that everybody was asking themselves, but they were too scared to speak out loud,’ said Stuart Scheller Sr.
‘He was asking for accountability, but they had a gag order on him and asked him not to speak.
‘He did, and they incarcerated him.’
US Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller, pictured with mother Catherine and father Stuart Sr.
Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller gained notoriety in August when he released a public video ripping into the hasty withdrawal of US troops and personnel from Afghanistan, leaving the country to fall to the Taliban
In a statement obtained by the Daily Mail, Stuart’s parents, Catherine and Stuart Sr, declared that their son ‘doesn’t deserve this treatment’ and ‘has lost his freedom’ despite calling for accountability from senior leaders.
‘Stuart is a proud American that has honorably served his nation for seventeen years and was simply asking the system that he dedicated his life to, the Military, to also support him.
‘In thirty days, our son went from being an exemplary Marine, handpicked by the Corp and placed in a highly prestigious position as the Commander of the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion, to a Marine that is being incarcerated for demanding integrity from military leadership.
‘All our son did was ask the questions that everyone was asking themselves, but too scared to speak out loud.
‘He doesn’t deserve this treatment.’
On Monday September 27, the Marine Corps issued a statement confirming Stuart Scheller Sr’s claims that his son had been imprisoned awaiting a military hearing and did not confirm how long he has been held, but insisted he would receive a fair trial.
‘Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr. is currently in pre-trial confinement in the Regional Brig for Marine Corps Installations East aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune pending an Article 32 preliminary hearing,’ said Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Training and Education Command.
‘The time, date, and location of the proceedings have not been determined. Lt. Col. Scheller will be afforded all due process.’
The hearing is expected to take place on Thursday.
Stuart Sr has praised his son for standing up for what he believes in and condemned the Corps over his son’s imprisonment: ‘I’ve had Vietnam veterans contacting me applauding him for his courage because they too want to know: Was it all worth it?’
‘Demanding accountability and honesty from his senior leaders, that’s all he was asking.
‘And the way the Marine Corps has dealt with it: They have now put him in jail.’
Scheller’s first video, published across social media on August 26, criticized Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley for leaving Bagram Air Base before all Americans and their allies had the chance to be evacuated from Afghanistan.
‘People are upset because their senior leaders let them down, and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, ”We messed this up”,’ Scheller said in the video, which he posted on the same day that an ISIS-K suicide bomber detonated his explosive device outside the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, killing over a hundred people including 11 US marines.
The next day, Scheller posted on Facebook saying that he had been relieved from his post a battalion commander for Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at School of Infantry East at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he is now being held in the brig.
Four days later, Scheller submitted his resignation, addressed to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Torro and citing ‘a lack of trust and confidence in your ability to lead.’
‘We the people seek change. We the people seek leadership. We the people seek accountability. We the people WILL take it,’ wrote Scheller in a LinkedIn post along with the letter.
‘Every generation needs a revolution.’
Scheller publicly shared his resignation letter, addressing it to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Torro and citing ‘a lack of trust and confidence in your ability to lead’
Scheller also posted on social media saying ‘Every generation needs a revolution’
The wording of Scheller’s resignation letter echoed a statement given by Maj. Jim Stenger, a Marine Corps spokesperson, to DailyMail.com, saying that Scheller was relieved of command after criticizing leadership ‘due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command.’
‘This is obviously an emotional time for a lot of Marines, and we encourage anyone struggling right now to seek counseling or talk to a fellow Marine. There is a forum in which Marine leaders can address their disagreements with the chain of command, but it’s not social media,’ Maj. Stenger said.
Scheller also made a Facebook post in which he revealed that his commanding officer had ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation after he posted the first video.
The marine said he understood why his commanding officer sent him for a mental health evaluation, but also said that ‘excusing the action of service members because of ‘PTSD’ does more damage to service members than any trauma in combat’ and that he is stronger because of his involvement in ‘very traumatic situations.’
He continued: ‘Accountability from senior leaders would alleviate feelings of guilt or shame in service members more than individual counseling.’
‘If you’re worried about someone… you should reach out and check on them. But never excuse a service member’s actions with a wave of the hand to PTSD.
‘You are crippling them by failing to hold them accountable.’
The Scheller family have appealed for donations to help their son’s cause and have called for locals to contact their local government and military representatives to build support for the case.
PICTURED: Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller wrote a lengthy post on Facebook, doubling down on accountability and tying the trait to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. He also criticized Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for saying COVID, not a high suicide rate is the Department of Defense’s biggest threat