Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller has formally been charged with six violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and has been referred to a special court-martial, a Marine Corps spokesman said Wednesday.
Scheller rose to national fame Aug. 26 when he posted a video on LinkedIn and Facebook of himself, in his Marine Corps uniform, calling for senior leaders in the Department of Defense to be held accountable for their failures in Afghanistan.
“In the military there are proper forums to raise concerns with the chain of command,” Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Training and Education Command, said in a statement emailed to Marine Corps Times Wednesday. “In a general sense not specific to any case, posting to social media criticizing the chain of command is not the proper manner in which to raise concerns with the chain of command and may, depending upon the circumstances, constitute a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
Scheller has been charged with 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 order or regulation) and Article 133 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman), Stephenson said.
Scheller’s first video was posted after news broke that 13 service members, including 11 Marines, had been killed in a suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul as thousands were fleeing the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
He immediately was fired from his position as the battalion commander of Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at School of Infantry–East at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Despite the reprimand, the Marine went on to post several more videos and written statements to social media where he called for accountability from specific political and military leaders, including those in his chain of command.
In one post Scheller said his goal was to “bring the whole system down.”
Scheller was sent to the brig Sept. 27, but was released on Tuesday after his lawyers came to an agreement with the Marine Corps.
When news of the Marines brig time broke, several Republican members of Congress came to the lieutenant colonel’s aid, writing a letter to Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger demanding the Marine be released from the brig.
During his short stint in the brig, rumors circulated that Scheller was put in solitary confinement. Stephenson said those rumors were false.
“While Lt. Col. Scheller was in an individual cell, he was never held in solitary confinement,” Stephenson said.
“He was allowed recreational time for a minimum of two hours a day and could regularly converse with other prisoners and staff, albeit socially distanced and masked when in the company of others in accordance with COVID-19 protocols. As a policy, the brig does not put its prisoners in solitary confinement,” he added.
The Marine Corps would not comment on the deal made between Scheller’s defense team and the Marine Corps.
Journalist Carl Prine at Coffee or Die Magazine reported that Scheller has agreed to plead guilty to some, but not all, of the charges brought against him in exchange for a release from the brig.