Stuart Scheller is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps who was relieved from duty after he shared a video on Facebook criticizing military leadership for their handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal.
According to Task and Purpose, Scheller “is now in the brig and accused of four offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” The military will hold a hearing to determine whether he should be court-martialed, the site reported.
“I can’t possibly respond to the overwhelming response,” Scheller wrote on his Facebook page after his dismissal. You can watch his video later in this article. It’s gone viral, and it’s led to a flood of support on social media for him as the country reels from the deaths of 13 Marines and service members in Kabul (you can see tributes to those fallen service members here).
“Facebook has stopped allowing me to accept friend requests. But I’ll offer you one more thought… Last night when I posted the video I immediately had multiple Marines call and ask me to take down the post. ‘We all agree with you Stu, but nothing will change, and it will come at a huge personal cost to you.’”
He added: “Obviously I didn’t take it down. Now that I’ve had time to process… I’ll offer this… we can’t ALL be wrong. If you all agree… then step up. They only have the power because we allow it. What if we all demanded accountability?” He then shared this quote: “Every generation needs a revolution”✊🏻🇺🇸 Thomas Jefferson.”
In the video, Scheller chastised military leadership.
“I’m not saying we’ve got to be in Afghanistan forever, but I am saying: Did any of you throw your rank on the table and say ‘hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Airfield, a strategic airbase, before we evacuate everyone,’” he said in the video.
“Did anyone do that? And when you didn’t think to do that, did anyone raise their hand and say ‘we completely messed this up.’”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Scheller Told Military Leaders, ‘I Demand Accountability,’ But He’s Now in the Brig
Scheller started his video with the caption, “To the American leadership. Very Respectfully, US.”
He started out explaining his experience. He served in Marine infantry for 17 years. He was the battalion commander with the advanced infantry training battalion at the time of the video. Scheller recorded his video just as news broke about the explosion in Kabul.
“One of those people who was killed was someone I had a personal relationship with,” he said. He did not go into additional details about that. I’m not making this video because it’s potentially an emotional time. I’m making it because I have a growing discontent and contempt for…perceived ineptitude at the foreign policy level and I want to specifically ask some questions to some of my senior leaders.”
“I feel like I have a lot to lose,” he said, adding that he thought through “what might happen to me…if I had the courage to post it. But I think what you believe in can only be defined by what you’re willing to risk.”
“I have been fighting for 17 years,” said Scheller. “I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders: ‘I demand accountability.’”
He said he was “willing to risk my current battalion commander’s seat, my retirement, my family stability to say some of the things that I want to say.” He said that would give him “some moral high ground to demand the same honesty, integrity, accountability for my senior leaders.”
He read from a letter written by Marine commandant David Berger, who wrote, “was it all worth it?”
“I’ve killed people, and I seek counseling and that’s fine,” Scheller said. “There’s a time in place for that. But the reason people are so upset on social media right no is not because the Marines on the battlefield let someone down that service member has always rose to the occasion and done extraordinary things, 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.’”
He said lower level soldiers get fired.
“We have a secretary of defense [Lloyd Austin] that testified to Congress in May that the Afghan national security force could withstand the Taliban advance. We have [the] joint chiefs [of Staff], the commandant is a member of that, who’re supposed to advise on military policy. We have a Marine combatant commander. All of these people are supposed to advise.”
Scheller said he was “not saying we’ve got to be in Afghanistan for ever, but I am saying: ‘Did any of you throw your rank on the table and say, hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram airfield, a strategic airbase, before we evacuate everyone?’ Did anyone do that?’ And when you didn’t think to do that, did anyone raise their hand and say, ‘We completely messed this up’?
“I’ve got battalion commander friends right now that are posting similar things, and they’re saying, wondering if all the lives were lost, if it was in vain, all those people that we’ve lost over the last 20 years…Potentially all those people did die in vain. If we don’t have senior leaders that own up and raise their hand and say, ‘We did not do this well in the end,’ without that we just keep repeating the same mistakes,” he said.
“This amalgamation of the economic-slash-corporate-slash-political-slash-higher military ranks are not holding up their end of the bargain.”
According to Task and Purpose, the military confirmed that Scheller is in the brig. “Scheller is accused of the following offenses under the UCMJ: Article 88: Contempt toward officials, Article 90: Willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer, Article 92: Failure to obey an order, and Article 133: Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman,” Task and Purpose reported, adding that he recorded other videos since the first one went viral; among them he said he wanted to file charges against a general.
2. Scheller Wrote That He Was ‘Relieved for Cause Based on a Lack of Trust & Confidence’
Scheller revealed he was “relieved for cause” on August 27, 2021, the day after he posted the video.
“To all my friends across the social networks,” he wrote. “I have been relieved for cause based on a lack of trust and confidence as of 14:30 today.My chain of command is doing exactly what I would do… if I were in their shoes. I appreciate the opportunities AITB command provided. To all the news agencies asking for interviews… I will not be making any statements other than what’s on my social platforms until I exit the Marine Corps.”
He continued, “America has many issues… but it’s my home… it’s where my three sons will become men. America is still the light shining in a fog of chaos. When my Marine Corps career comes to an end, I look forward to a new beginning. y life’s purpose is to make America the most lethal and effective foreign diplomacy instrument. While my days of hand to hand violence may be ending…I see a new light on the horizon. Semper.”
3. Scheller Served in Iraq & Helped Evacuate Americans From Beirut
According to his Facebook page, Scheller “studied Military Sciences at Marine Corps University” and “studied Accounting at UC Lindner College of Business.” He went to Anderson High School and lives in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
In earlier August, he wrote on Facebook, “To every school teacher who told me violence was never the answer… I wish you were teaching in Afghanistan right now to see the depth of your misguided world view.”
According to his bio, “LtCol Stuart P. Scheller graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelors in accounting. He began Officer Candidate School in January 2005. After completing Officer Candidate School, The Basic School, and Infantry Officer Course, he checked into 1st Battalion, 8th Marines in December 2005.”
“After checking into 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, and assuming the duty of platoon commander, LtCol Scheller conducted a deployment on the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. He participated in the Non-Combatant Evacuation of American citizens out of Beirut during the 2006 Israeli/Lebanese conflict. Then the following year, he was assigned the role of Alpha Company Executive Officer and deployed to Ramadi, Iraq. Of note, during that time the infantry companies moved to a four infantry platoon construct, so LtCol Scheller, in addition to his Company Executive Officer duties, was also the Fire Support leader, and also served in this capacity during a Mojave Viper and the Ramadi deployment.”
The bio adds: “In 2008 LtCol Scheller checked into the School of Infantry East, Infantry Training Battalion. He spent six months as the Weapons Instructor group OIC, and a year and a half as the Echo Company Commander.”
It continues, “In 2010 LtCol Scheller sought out an Individual Augment deployment to Afghanistan. He was the Counter-IED team leader for the organization JIEDDO. He spent a year in Paktika and Ghanzi provinces while supporting the Army’s 101st Infantry Brigade. He was the infantry subject matter expert for EOD and Route Clearance Platoon operations. From July 2011 to June 2012 LtCol Scheller attended resident Expeditionary Warfare School. Following Expeditionary Warfare School, LtCol Scheller augmented Officer Candidate School as a platoon commander for a 10 week class.”
The bio continues,
In September 2012 LtCol Scheller checked into 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines and served as the Company Commander for Headquarters and Service Company. During this Company Command tour, he completed the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployment. Following the deployment, in November 2013, LtCol Scheller assumed the duty as Weapons Company Commander. During his Weapons Company Command tour, he completed an Infantry Training Exercise and a Unit Deployment East.
In August 2015, LtCol Scheller checked into The Basic School. During his three year tour, he served in many capacities, to include Operations Officer, Company Commander, and Warfighting Director.
In July 2018, LtCol Scheller attended resident Command and Staff College where he earned a Masters in Military Science.
In July 2019, LtCol Scheller checked into Marine Special Forces Command and assumed the duties as the Executive Officer of 2nd Support Battalion. Of note, the Battalion Commander spent the majority of the tour deployed on a Special Operations Task Force, allowing LtCol Scheller the opportunity to lead the battalion stateside.
In June 2020 LtCol Scheller checked into 6th Marine Regiment and assumed the duties as Operations Officer. During this time the Regiment supported four battalions and completed a Service Level Training Exercise.
In June 2021 LtCol Scheller checked into the School of Infantry East, Advanced Infantry Training Battalion, as the commanding officer.
4. Scheller Helped Invent a Mold to Make Ribbons Attach More Easily to Uniforms
On Facebook, Scheller wrote that he was “owner and Founder at The Perfect Ribbon” as well as “Infantry Officer at U.S. Marine Corps.”
An article Scheller shared on Facebook from Military Influencer.com explained The Perfect Ribbon. It said that Marine Maj. Stuart Scheller came up with a product to take “the hassle out of uniform preparation.”
He helped create a mold that “would allow a service member to put attachments on ribbons easily and in regulation.” He made the mold with a military officer friend named Zach Rohlfing.
The invention “caught fire,” he said.
5. Scheller Is Receiving a Lot of Support on Social Media
Scheller’s video has received hundreds of comments and many shares as it’s started to go viral on social media. “This is what happens when you speak the truth! You knew what would happen going into this but you had the courage to do the right thing and stick to our Corps Values! Semper Fi,” wrote one person on his Facebook comment thread.
Here are some of those comments:
“Absolutely honored and proud of you for saying what needed to be said. The cost of incompetence is permanent for those young men.”
“You threw it on the line and if big government takes it away. Many service members / veterans are willing to give. We have your back financially and any other way.”
“Real leaders are hard to come by, we must stand with them.”
“Thank you sir. This is the example of a leader of character I look to.”
“Thank you for so eloquently stating what we civilians are asking ourselves. Thank you for your service. I am the wife of a retired Army officer and mother of two army officers.”
“Thank you for voicing what so many of us feel. Semper Fi! I’ve got your 6, Sir!”