After pleading guilty to all charges during his court-martial hearing this week, US Marine Stuart Scheller was issued a letter of reprimand and a forfeiture of $5,000 worth of pay for one month, Fox News reported.
He posted videos on social media criticizing military leadership and the Biden administration’s withdrawal of military assets from Afghanistan.
Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr. pled guilty Thursday to all six misdemeanor-level charges, including willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer, dereliction in the performance of duties, and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.
On Friday, the judge stated that if it hadn’t been for Scheller’s nine days in pre-trial confinement, he would have imposed a two-month pay forfeiture. Scheller was released from the brig last week after violating an agreement to stop posting criticism on social media.
The judge stated that he does not condone Scheller’s actions, but he did mention his 17-year USMC career, saying that prior to his social media incident, he was an officer with an outstanding record – a record he said weighed heavily on him.
The letter of reprimand was much shorter than what was suggested. The prosecution recommended a $5,000 pay forfeiture for six months and a letter of reprimand. The maximum penalty could have been a loss of two-thirds of a month’s pay for a period of 12 months, as well as a letter of reprimand.
Scheller was relieved of command at one of Camp Lejeune’s infantry training battalions in August after posting the videos on Facebook and LinkedIn following a bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul that killed 13 US service members and dozens of Afghan citizens.
“Did anyone raise their hand and say, ‘We completely messed this up?’” Scheller had asked in a video. “I’m not saying we can take back what has been done. All I asked for was accountability, for people to comment on what I said and to say, ‘Yes. Mistakes were made.’ And had they done that I would’ve gone back into rank and file, submitted, and accomplished what I wanted.”
Scheller is a decorated Marine who has served for 17 years.
Other charges against him include officer contempt, disrespect for superior commissioned officers, and failure to obey an order or regulation.