Camp Lejeune Marine officer gets letter of reprimand
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WITN) - A former Marine battalion commander who was relieved of his duties after he criticized the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will get a letter of reprimand.
This came this morning after Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller pleaded guilty in a special court-martial Thursday morning at Camp Lejeune.
Tim Parlatore, an attorney for Scheller, said his client accepted responsibility for his actions. In addition to the reprimand, Scheller will have to forfeit $5,000 in pay.
In an Aug. 26 video, Scheller demanded accountability from military leaders regarding the withdrawal from Afghanistan after 13 U.S. troops were killed in Kabul. The next day, Scheller was relieved of his command at the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Geiger, which is a facility at Camp Lejeune.
He was facing several charges, including disrespect toward superior commissioned officers, willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer, and conduct unbecoming of an officer.
Scheller followed his comments with a series of social media posts, including an Aug. 29 video in which he resigned his commission and said “follow me and we will bring down the whole … system.”
“When I posted the second video my life was spiraling,” Scheller told the judge this morning. He said his mental state was bad, his wife left him, he lost his business, and he had to undergo a mental assessment which he said made things worse.
Republican Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert took the stand on behalf of Scheller Thursday.
“I don’t know how anybody could expect after people like Stu Scheller go to Afghanistan. Fight — fight beside others — and then have people at the top thoughtlessly decide it’s time to surrender? What moron could not have figured out that when you put the Taliban in charge of the safety, security and lives of our military, that was going to work out well?”
A congressman from Georgia also testified. Parlatore noted their presence and testimony.
“Elected members of Congress, they represent the public. They can come in and talk about what their constituents, what their reactions were. Any elected official that contacted us and said that they wanted to come, we were going to have testify.”
Scheller was held in pretrial confinement at the Regional Brig at Camp Lejeune. He was released after protests were held at the Freedom Fountain in Jacksonville supporting him.
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