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Marine battalion ordered by superiors to go for mental heallth check

Marine Lt Colonel slams superiors for sending him for mental health evaluation after he posted video criticizing botched Afghanistan exit and then resigning when he was relieved of command

  • Lt. Colonel Stuart Scheller wrote a lengthy Facebook post on Monday, making the link between the notion of accountability and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
  • He called out Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for saying that COVID-19, not a high suicide rate, is the most immediate threat to the Department of Defense 
  • Scheller’s post comes 24-hours after a video online on Sunday addressing his resignation, just days after he went viral for calling out his superiors
  • Scheller’s original video criticized Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley among others
  • He slammed the military for leaving the Bagram Air Base before all Americans and their allies had the chance to be evacuated
  • Scheller has now said that the military ‘needs a revolution’ 
  • His family and Marines he has served with praised his ‘courage’ for speaking out

The Marine battalion commander who was relieved of his duties for blasting his superiors over the Afghanistan exit strategy says his commanding officer ordered him to go to the hospital for a mental health screening.

Lt. Colonel Stuart Scheller had announced he was resigning from the Marines just days after he was punished for his viral video where he called out his superiors for not ‘raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, “We messed this up”.’

But he blasted top brass again in an update Monday, saying that when he returned to work on Monday he was ordered to go to a hospital to be ‘evaluated by the mental health specialists’. 

Scheller said that ‘excusing the action of service members because of “PTSD” does more damage to service members than any trauma in combat’ and that he is stronger because of his involvement in ‘very traumatic situations.’

Scheller’s original video criticized Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley for leaving the Bagram Air Base before all Americans and their allies had the chance to be evacuated.

It came after 13 U.S. service members, including 11 Marines, were killed along with more than 90 Afghans after at least one suicide bomber attacked the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.   

PICTURED: Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller wrote a lengthy post on Facebook, doubling down on accountability and tying the trait to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. He also criticized Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for saying COVID, not a high suicide rate is the Department of Defense’s biggest threat 

Scheller’s Facebook post on Monday said that he understood why his commanding officer sent him for a mental health evaluation.

But said it ‘brings up a couple of important issues’ because it suggested officials were trying to excuse his actions because of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Scheller said: ‘If you’re worried about someone… you should reach out and check on them. But never excuse a service member’s actions with a wave of the hand to PTSD. You are crippling them by failing to hold them accountable.’

He added that ‘accountability from senior leaders would alleviate feelings of guilt or shame in service members more than individual counseling.’ 

Further on, Scheller criticized Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin once more for saying that ‘the most immediate threat [to the DoD] is COVID,’ after condemning him in his resignation video on Sunday. 

He claimed that ‘from a statistical perspective, it’s pretty easy to argue that COVID isn’t the biggest threat,’ as he goes on to point out that ‘well over’ 6,000 Veterans committed suicide in 2018, according to the 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report. 

Scheller insisted that he was going to follow through with his resignation from the Marines.

Ending his post in a defiant tone, Scheller insisted that he is ‘not going anywhere,’ after his followers were worried about him, and that he is ‘scared’ for what the future holds for him.

However, ‘the system’ can’t beat him if he stands ‘with accountability and integrity.’ 

The post comes just a day after Scheller published a 10-minute video on Sunday, titled ‘Your Move,’ acknowledging he had sacrificed a cushy pension by leaving the Marines after making his comments. 

It’s unheard of for an active duty Marine commander to publicly rip ranking military leaders.

Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller published a new video online on Sunday addressing his resignation just days after he went viral for calling out his superiors

The new 10-minute video, titled ‘Your Move,’ acknowledges Scheller has sacrificed a cushy pension by leaving the Marines after making his comments

‘I just want to clarify my legal status. I have been relieved of my command but I am still a United States Marine. Currently I am not pending legal action,’ Scheller said in the new video which ended his 17-year military career.

Scheller said the Marines want ‘to hide me away’ for three years until his service ended and not send him to a board of inquiry, which could have separated him on ‘other than honorable’ conditions.

The Marine revealed that he was resigning after he felt challenged to after a comment to his post on LinkedIn from retired Marine Col. Thomas K. Hobbs.

‘If Scheller was truly honorable, he would have resigned his commission in protest after stating what he did,’ wrote Hobbs, who Scheller said he loved ‘like a father.’

Scheller said: ‘You didn’t say ‘is’ as in challenging me, you said ‘was’ as if you assumed I wouldn’t do it.’

‘I want to make the announcement today, after 17 years, I’m currently not pending legal action and I could stay in the Marine Corps for another three years but I don’t think that’s the path I’m on.’

Scheller said in the video that his resignation would be effective ‘now’ though acknowledged that there’s administrative paperwork that needs to be filed for him to properly resign.

‘But I am forfeiting my retirement, all entitlements. I don’t want a single dollar. I don’t want any money from the VA, I don’t want any VA benefits,’ Scheller said, claiming that he was forgoing more than $2 million in pension benefits by leaving the service.

In the video, Scheller also appeared to direct a vague threat toward senior military leaders – who he said should be given the money from his pension.

‘I think that money should go back to all the senior general officers because I think they need it more than I do – because when I am done with what I’m about to do, you all are going to need the jobs and the security,’ he said.

The Marine said that he ‘would have gone back into the rank-and-file’ if his superiors had just said ‘Yes, mistakes were made.’

He said that he was trying to get senior leaders to ‘accept accountability.’ 

‘I think them accepting accountability would do more for service members and PTSD and struggling with purpose than any other transparent piece of paper or message,’ Scheller said in the video.

He added: ‘If Stuart Scheller was honorable, he would resign. You have no idea what I’m capable of doing.’

Marine Corp Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller said in a widely shared video that military leaders need to take accountability for botched, fatal evacuation out of Afghanistan 

Follow up post to the video where Scheller said he was relived of his duty

‘To all the congressmen, senators, every media station across the globe, yo all the rich philanthropists, I appreciate the support and I’m going to need your support.’

In comments to the New York Post on Saturday, Scheller had evoked former President Thomas Jefferson’s saying: ‘Every generation needs a revolution.’

The New York Post also spoke with Scheller’s family and Marines he has served with, who praised his ‘courage’ for speaking out.

Juan Chavez, 33, served under Scheller from 2011 to 2014 and called him a ‘magnificent leader’ and ‘a breath of fresh air’ in comments to the New York Post. 

He claimed in another Facebook post that some of his fellow officers have urged him to take down the video despite agreeing with him.

‘It takes real courage to do what he did and that was Stu all the way,’ Chavez said. 

Stuart Scheller Sr., his father, called him ‘the real deal’ and ‘a Marine’s Marine’ who idolized his grandfather, a World War II vet who landed on the beach at Normandy.

‘He has put his life on the line for fellow Marines so putting his career on the line like this does not surprise us,’ the proud father said.

He added: ‘He’s still on the battlefield protecting his men and women. It’s interesting that no one (in the military) has answered his call for accountability. Their answer was to fire him I guess. It’s a sad day for America.’

Scheller was relieved of his duties as a battalion commander after a stellar 17-year career. ‘I have been fighting for 17 years. I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders, ‘I demand accountability,” he said

Scheller claimed in a Facebook post on Saturday that some of his fellow officers have urged him to take down the video despite agreeing with him.

‘Obviously I didn’t take it down,’ Scheller wrote. 

‘I’ll offer this: we can’t ALL be wrong. If you all agree … then step up. They only have the power because we allow it. What if we all demanded accountability?’

Scheller, whose career included tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, had posted the controversial five-minute video on Facebook and LinkedIn. In a follow up post later in the day Friday, he said was relieved of his duties.

‘The reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the Marine on the battlefield let someone down,’ Scheller said in the original video.

‘I have been fighting for 17 years. I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders, ‘I demand accountability.”  

Lt. Col. Scheller said he had a personal relationship with one of the Marines who died in Thursday’s ISIS-K bombing and ‘potentially, all those people did die in vain’ if the leaders don’t take ownership of the debacle. 

He said a major strategic error was not securing Bagram air base before evacuating people. Instead, the US relied on the Kabul airport as the only way to fly out of the country.

Maj. Jim Stenger, a Marine Corps spokesperson, told in a statement that Scheller was relieved of command by Col. David Emmel ‘due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command.’

‘This is obviously an emotional time for a lot of Marines, and we encourage anyone struggling right now to seek counseling or talk to a fellow Marine. There is a forum in which Marine leaders can address their disagreements with the chain of command, but it’s not social media,’ Maj. Stenger said. 

In a Facebook post, Scheller said: ‘My chain of command is doing exactly what I would do if I were in their shoes.’ 

Pentagon officials said on Friday that there was only one suicide bomber at Kabul airport on Thursday and not two, as was previously claimed, adding to confusion over the attack and fears for the ongoing operation on the ground. 

Speaking at a briefing on Friday, Army General Hank Taylor said: ‘I can confirm that we do not believe there was a second explosion at or near the Baron hotel.’

‘It was one suicide bomber. In the confusion of very dynamic events can cause information to get confused.’

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