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Local Marine Scheller sentenced to reduction in pay, 'punitive letter of reprimand'

Lt. Col. Scheller jailed after criticizing U.S. withdraw from Afghanistan on social media
Scheller Family
Posted at 4:47 PM, Oct 14, 2021

CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina — A local Marine has been sentenced for criticizing the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller pleaded guilty to all charges against him at a special court martial trial on Thursday at Camp Lejeune, according to a report from the Military Times.

Scheller – an Anderson High School and University of Cincinnati graduate – was given a special court martial related to Facebook videos he made in August criticizing U.S. leadership for the withdraw in Afghanistan, specifically the terror attack that killed 13 U.S. military members and over 100 Afghans. Scheller was put in the brig at Camp Lejeune after he continued to make videos.

Scheller was sentenced to a forfeiture in pay in the amount of $5,000 for one month and a "punitive letter of reprimand."

Scheller pleaded guilty to the following:

  • Contempt toward officials,
  • Disrespect toward superior commissioned officers,
  • Willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer,
  • Dereliction in the performance of duties,
  • Failure to obey order or regulation,
  • Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.

Scheller was expected to resign his commission as part of the plea agreement. Scheller has also tendered his resignation, but the Navy has yet to decide whether that resignation is honorable or dishonorable.

"Either people love me or hate me," Scheller said in a quote to the Military Times. He also said his continued service in the Marine Corps would have been a distraction.

In his first video, which was published on his Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, Scheller was critical of the U.S. strategy to evacuate Afghanistan. He questioned the decision to begin evacuating Bagram Airfield – a strategic U.S. air base in the country – before U.S. officials and Afghans had been evacuated from the rest of the country.

Despite pleading guilty, Scheller's defense counsel denounced the charges against their client as a "laundry list of grievances" meant to appease leadership.