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.
On Monday, his father 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.
The Marine Corps later 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.
Now, speaking exclusively with DailyMail.com, Scheller Sr discusses his son’s plight, blasts the Marine Corps’ handling of the situation, and hits out against his son’s detractors.
‘It’s outrageous. Our son is a warrior. He has been a marine for the past 17 years, highly decorated and perhaps considered in the top 1% of Marine Corps officers.
‘He could not stand by and could not fathom the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. He was asking for accountability, honest answers, and confessions of mistakes that were made.
‘They have turned their backs on him. They have tried to shut him up with a gag order, and when that didn’t work, they have put him in jail. It’s shameful!’
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
Scheller Sr went on to tell DailyMail.com that the pressure applied to his son by the USMC goes against the military outfit’s code by which marines are expected to abide, and declared the Corps could’ve handled his case a drastically different fashion.
‘The question is: Is the treatment by the administration and military leadership towards our son justified?
‘They didn’t like what he has said or what he is asking for, and so they locked him up. Pressuring, intimidating, shaming, and imprisoning our son is not justified.
‘The USMC expect him to be honest, intelligent, courageous, and to fight for his fellow service members. That is what he’s doing.
‘This is expected of him and his fellow Marine officers and enlisted men, and he was asking for the same from his leaders.
‘But all he has received in the last 30 days for asking for accountability is pressure from the United States Marine Corps leadership.
‘They do not like being held accountable, and therefore they have silenced him and put him in jail.
‘The leadership could have answered Stuart’s call for accountability in the first 24 hours vs. essentially firing him. They could have met with him to reach common ground and made public statements regarding the Afghanistan exit.’
‘I’ve had Vietnam veterans contacting me applauding him for his courage because they too want to know: Was it all worth it?’
On Monday, Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Training and Education Command, issued a statement on Scheller’s imprisonment.
‘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.
‘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.
Meanwhile, Scheller Sr told DailyMail.com that he is extremely proud of his son for standing up for what he believes in and questioned the stance of detractors who believe his son should have simply followed orders.
‘Stuart inspires us. We have raised four exemplary children who are all leaders in their own right!
‘But the question is, is America proud of him? Will Americans stand for the treatment he has received? I pray to God that Americans stand up for Stuart.
‘What should I say to people who say he should have kept his mouth shut and never expressed his opinion about the wrongs that are happening in this great country?
‘Well, that absolutely would have been the ‘politically correct’ and ‘polite society’ approach. And that would have made life for Stuart and our family a lot easier.
‘But that is not who we are. We believe our son was hand-picked and destined for this assignment and journey, as were we. He is a proud American and he will continue to fight for the American people.
‘God Bless America!’
The question is: Is the treatment by the administration and military leadership towards our son justified? They do not like being held accountable, and therefore they have silenced him and 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