Marine officer faces court-martial after his viral video criticizing top military leaders for Afghanistan failures

Marine officer faces court-martial after his viral video criticizing top military leaders for Afghanistan failures
·2 min read
Lt. Col Stuart Scheller of the US Marines
Lt. Col Stuart Scheller, shown here in an official Marine Corps photo. Marine Corp
  • A Marine officer who was jailed after a viral video criticizing senior leaders for failures in Afghanistan has been released.

  • Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller is facing a special court-martial, the date of which has not yet been set.

  • Six charges, including contempt toward officials, have been referred to special court-martial.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Marine Corps referred six charges against an outspoken Marine officer, who demanded accountability from senior military leaders for failures in Afghanistan in a viral video last month, to special court-martial on Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, formerly the commander of the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion and a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, gained notoriety after he put his 17-year career in the Marine Corps on the line in a video calling out the secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and others for missteps in Afghanistan.

The video, released on social media the same day 13 US troops were killed in a suicide bombing amid evacuation operations at the airport in Kabul, accused senior leaders of letting US service members down.

After the video came out, Scheller revealed in a follow-on post that he had been relieved of his command. The Marine officer initially sought to resign his commission and leave the military, but that didn't happen.

Toward the end of September, the Marine Corps revealed that Scheller was in pre-trial confinement in the Regional Brig for Marine Corps Installations East aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

Service members are kept in pre-trial confinement if an offense triable by court-partial has been committed and the accused is considered a flight risk who might engage in further criminal behavior, according to the Marine Corps.

While Scheller is still facing court-martial, he was released from confinement on Tuesday as part of an agreement between Scheller, his defense counsel, and the commanding general of Training Command.

For his criticisms of the US military's senior leaders as an active-duty uniformed service member, Scheller has been charged under the UCMJ with contempt toward officials, disrespect toward superior commissioned officers, willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer, dereliction in the performance of duties, failure to obey an order or regulation, and conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman.

Responding to questions about Scheller's right to free speech, Training Command said in a statement that "there are proper forums to raise concerns with the chain of command," adding that in general, "posting to social media criticizing the chain of command is not the proper manner in which to raise concerns" and can constitute a UCMJ violation.

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