The Marine lieutenant colonel who made a video castigating Pentagon brass for the disastrous Afghanistan pullout is now in the brig.
It wasn’t enough apparently that Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr. had been relieved of his command and is expected to be booted out, three years away from pension eligibility. Now Scheller is in jail awaiting an Article 32 hearing, which could lead to his court martial.
Camp Lejeune confirmed that Scheller had been put in jail for speaking out.
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.
Scheller’s dad told Task and Purpose that his son would be brought before the proceeding on Thursday.
In a video Scheller posted to Facebook and LinkedIn right after the Kabul terror attack that killed 13 service members on August 26, Scheller asked if any military brass had put their reputations – and their jobs – on the line to tell the commander in chief that pulling out this way was a disastrous idea.
“People are upset because senior leaders let them down, and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying ‘we messed this up.’
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?’
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 the … higher military ranks are not holding up their end of the bargain. I wanna say this very strongly. I have been fighting for 17 years. I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders: I demand accountability.”
The video went beyond viral.
Remarkable video from Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller calling out senior leaders on Afghanistan. "People are upset because senior leaders let them down, and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying 'we messed this up.'" pic.twitter.com/rgtp8OncCX
— Dave Brown (@dave_brown24) August 27, 2021
Scheller’s dad, Stu Scheller, Sr., told Task and Purpose that his son asked the questions that were on the minds of most Americans.
All our son did is ask the questions that everybody was asking themselves, but they were too scared to speak out loud. He was asking for accountability. In fact, I think he even asked for an apology that we made mistakes, but they couldn’t do that, which is mind-blowing.
They had a gag order on him and asked him not to speak. He did, and they incarcerated him. They don’t know what to do with him.
Scheller’s first video could be considered insubordinate, but another video he put out a few days later prompted concern by Camp Lejeune brass that he might need need psychological help.
While Lt. Col. Scheller has earned widespread praise on social media, he has also made several statements that have prompted concern about his well-being. On Aug. 29, he made a YouTube video from inside what he described as “an abandoned school bus in Eastern North Carolina,” in which he vowed to resign his commission and proclaimed, “Follow me and we will bring the whole f—king system down.”
The Marines told Scheller to knock it off. When he didn’t, he predicted that he’d end up exactly where he is: in the brig.
Task and Purpose:
“What happens when all you do is speak truth and no one wants to hear it. But they can probably stop listening because… I’m crazy… right?” Scheller wrote. “Col Emmel please have the MPs waiting for me at 0800 on Monday. I’m ready for jail.”
While military leaders on Capitol Hill are pilloried by congressional members for their YouTube campaign highlight reels, the one guy who spoke actual truth to power, with real-world consequences, sits in a jail cell.
Veterans of all stripes know that Scheller was right in his assessment of the pullout and cowardice of the Pentagon brass for letting it happen without resigning, but they also know the military lives by its own rules … and that Scheller broke them.