A right-wing Marine officer who went viral for criticizing the U.S. military and its leadership over Afghanistan has been sent to the brig, family members told Task & Purpose. The officer, identified as Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, went viral after sharing a video on Facebook in which he questioned the command of military leaders for withdrawing from Afghanistan. He released several videos despite being told by supervisors to stop posting on social media. Reports indicate knew that his last post about the gag order could have him sent to the brig.
"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 at the end of the Facebook post. "Col Emmel please have the MPs waiting for me at 0800 on Monday. I’m ready for jail."
Scheller was told Saturday that “effective immediately upon your receipt below, you are hereby ordered to refrain from posting any and all material, in any form without exception, to any social media.” Despite this, he continued to post on social media, egging on conservative conspiracy theorists and violence, including telling his followers to help him “bring the whole (expletive) system down.”
His first video posted on Aug. 26 not only went viral but was posted the same day a suicide bomber attacked Hamid Karzai International Airport’s Abbey gate, killing 11 Marines, one sailor, and one Army special ops soldier. While Scheller did not elaborate on it, he said he had a “personal relationship” with one of the fallen service members.
He then claimed he was resigning his commission and walking away from a $2 million pension and other benefits after 17 years of service, but reports show that he was fired from command of the service’s Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Lejeune.
In another video shared Sept. 16, Scheller even pledged to file charges against Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., head of U.S. Central Command, for what he called mistakes that led up to the Afghanistan evacuation. In a Facebook post, the man claimed that he would charge McKenzie with 13 specifications of “Dereliction of Duty through Culpable Inefficiency.”
His videos were both praised and criticized by the military and veteran community. While some praised him for risking his career and expressing his views, others noted that the officer broke norms by criticizing his chain of command publicly and, as a result, undermined good order and discipline. Some even questioned the status of his mental health.
Nevertheless, Scheller was detained Monday after violating the Marine Corps’ order to stop, his father Stu Scheller Sr. told Task & Purpose.
“All our son did is ask the questions that everybody was asking themselves, but they were too scared to speak out loud,” Scheller Sr. said. “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.”
The father continued to defend his son, despite Scheller’s harmful and dangerous ideology.
“They had a gag order on him and asked him not to speak,” he continued. “He did, and they incarcerated him. They don’t know what to do with him.”
In a statement, Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Sam Stephenson told Task & Purpose that Scheller “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.”
He added that “the time, date and location of the proceedings have not been determined. Lt. Col. Scheller will be afforded all due process.”
According to Task & Purpose, the Marine Corps confirmed that Scheller is accused of the following offenses under the UCMJ: Article 88: Contempt toward officials; Article 90: Willfully disobeying superior commissioned officer; Article 92: Failure to obey an order; and Article 133: Conduct unbecoming.
Of course, the cherry on top is that Scheller is apparently friends with the infamous Eddie Gallagher. For those who don’t know, Gallagher is the former Navy SEAL who was demoted in the wake of a conviction for war crime charges. His organization, the Pipe Hitter Foundation, began raising funds to back Scheller’s transition out of the military and provide other support, including assistance with “mounting legal expenses,” it said in a statement last week.
Gallagher and his wife even appeared on KUSI News to discuss their support for Scheller.
“He wants to retire honorably,” Andrea Gallagher said. “It’s the fact that he called the leadership of the military into question, demanded accountability, that he is going to be basically used as a scapegoat.”
Watch Scheller’s video for yourself below.
For more community discussion on this issue, check out PvtJarHead's post here.