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Marine Commander Who Demanded Accountability Of Military Leadership Docked $5k, Issued Letter of Reprimand

Marine Commander Who Demanded Accountability Of Military Leadership Docked $5k, Issued Letter of Reprimand

Meanwhile, CNN beclowns itself. Again.

Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller knew when he made and posted on social media a video demanding accountability from his superiors that he was risking his 17-year unblemished military career and, possibly, his freedom.  He also knew that he had to speak up.

The Biden catastrophe in Afghanistan, including the foreseeable and entirely preventable deaths of 13 U.S. military personnel, prompted Colonel Scheller to post the following:

He wasn’t wrong.  But, as I noted at the time,  “when I first saw this video on Friday, I knew—as did Colonel Scheller—that his military career was over. Sure enough, he was swiftly relieved of his command.”

I don’t think anyone was surprised by that development nor by his subsequent court martial, including Colonel Scheller himself.  He knew.  And he did it anyway.

Colonel Scheller ended up pleading guilty to all charges, and let’s face it, he was guilty of all charges.  He knew.  And he did it anyway.

In the end, Colonel Scheller elected to a trial by a military judge and received what can only be considered a wrist slap, by any (but CNN’s) standard.

American Military News reports:

A military judge has sentenced U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller to receive a letter of reprimand and a loss of one month’s pay, $5,000, after he pled guilty to six misdemeanor level offenses for his criticisms of the military’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Fox News reported the judge’s sentence was far short of what prosecutors had recommended, which called for the letter of reprimand and forfeiture of six months of Scheller’s pay. The judge said he did not condone Scheller’s offenses, which included contempt and disrespect for superiors, but noted the Marine’s 17 years of military service and strong record up to that point.

. . . . The sentencing decision comes one day after Scheller pleaded to all six charges: 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 an officer and a gentleman.

Scheller’s attorney said the Marine felt that after so publicly calling for accountability from senior military leaders, he too needed to accept accountability and plead guilty to the ensuing charges.

Colonel Scheller will be leaving the military, but the question remains about whether or not he’ll receive an honorable discharge.

AMN continues:

The judge also recommended the Secretary of the Navy gives Scheller either an honorable discharge or a general discharge under honorable conditions. The Pipe Hitter Foundation said the judge’s findings “send a strong message for an honorable discharge.”

With an honorable discharge, Scheller may keep all veteran benefits he is entitled to this point in his military career. With a general discharge under honorable conditions, Scheller would stand to lose some benefits.

An honorable or a general discharge under honorable conditions is all that should be on the table due to Colonel Scheller’s plea deal.

However, the current Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, is about as much of a woke political hack as Joint Chiefs head Mark Milley or DOD head Lloyd Austin, so who knows what he will decide. Del Toro may decide to go outside the plea deal (and he can) and pursue a dishonorable discharge. Even if the worst happens, though, Colonel Scheller certainly knew a less than honorable discharge was more than possible. And he did it anyway.

So that’s what actually happened and may yet happen. With this in mind, let’s–just for S&G–take a look at the CNN report on the effective wrist slap Colonel Scheller received. This is not to in any way diminish the import of a letter of reprimand on a pristine military record, nor to discount the true pain Colonel Scheller must feel at being separated from the Marines and his command, to both of which he is forever bound. But we all know, it could have been much, much worse.

And since it wasn’t, CNN churns up its incompetent spin machine to make the ruling sound far worse than it really is and to beclown itself in the process.

The headline is hyperbolic gold (archive link): “Marine forced to forfeit $5,000 in pay following conviction related to his videos criticizing the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.” “Forced to forfeit”? Hee.

It’s a judgment, so yeah, “forced to forfeit” is technically correct, but too funny. And $5k compared to what the prosecution was asking? Laughable. Colonel Scheller strikes me as a sensible Marine, one who certainly can afford to pay $5k for speaking his mind. And his “conviction” was based on his pleading guilty to all charges. Period.

The following line made me laugh, literally laugh, out loud: “On Thursday, Hines found Scheller guilty after he entered guilty pleas to all five charges he faced.” Erm, what? Colonel Scheller pleaded guilty, and Judge Hines “found” him (antecedent issues galore) guilty? My eyes can’t roll back far enough for this tortured logic, nor at the sentence construct itself, does CNN not have any editors left?

Line up the Pulitzer nominations for this keen and riveting CNN reporting:

Scheller appeared relaxed in the military court room on Friday morning. He was chatting with his attorneys and his parents, who sat on a bench behind him, and drinking coffee out of a disposable cup before court started.

Coffee! Out of a disposable cup! He appeared relaxed! His parents were there! Again, does CNN not have any editors?

At the end of the day, Colonel Scheller’s career as a Marine is over. As he knew it would be. But he did it anyway.


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I feel for Lt Col Scheller, he is to gme as much a political prisoner as those being held for J6.

    Milhouse in reply to Skip. | October 16, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    He’s not a prisoner. He spent a few days in lockup for some unknown reason, but he’s out and not going back. And there’s nothing political about the charges or his sentence. He’s clearly guilty, he openly said so, and he got the lightest sentence reasonably available. This is a vindication for him. Very different from the people held in solitary for months, or those being sentenced by that vicious sow Tanya Chutkan, who will surely one day be held accountable.

      Sanddog in reply to Milhouse. | October 16, 2021 at 10:37 pm

      Of course it’s political. He was trying to force their hand but luckily, the judge didn’t play along with the prosecution. At least he had an ounce of sense. When it comes to senior military leadership, EVERYTHING is political.

      TX-rifraph in reply to Milhouse. | October 17, 2021 at 7:30 am

      I agree with you as far as you took this. The sentence is political in that it was resistance by the judge. The CNN response indicates (they express the propaganda of the deep state) the Democrats/RINOs are not pleased. This judge will be punished (likely quietly) by the corrupt administration.

Antifundamentalist | October 16, 2021 at 8:51 pm

Given the circumstances, I would not categorize his conduct as “unbecoming.” I would say that it might possibly be a mandate, given that the people in charge might well be considered Domenstic Enemies of the Constitution.

a lesson in accountability for us all–he did what he did for the marines in his command and for the other servicemen/servicewomen involved in the afstan fracas/withdrawal–he knew it would probably cost him everything and he did it anyway and then willingly pled guilty to all the charges

semper fi indeed, colonel

Fuzz, you missed the real spin on this story has been headlined through several top hits on google as ‘marine who demanded accountability gets light sentence’.

This framing is more nefarious than cnn amateur hour as it suggests he somehow pulled a favor to get off light and thus his message is tainted by hypocrisy. The lefty journo spinzone never stops turning.

    CNN is determined not to have the underlying story surface. The Marine violated the UCMJ with his statements about incompetent leadership (and presidency), which can easily result in getting bounced out of the service plus additional penalties. The judge was under political pressure from on high to hammer the Marine like a nail, but instead he gave him a gentle tap. That implies the judge agrees (quietly) with the Marine about his evaluation about the quality of their leadership (up to the top).

    CNN will twist like a pretzel to avoid saying that.

      The judge gave what he thought was fair, and also criticized the authorities who pushed the case so hard, blowing it out of proportion. I bet the brass will have him out of there real fast and replaced with one of their own.

    Good point! I was actually torn on how to frame this piece, and you have nailed my choice (leftie media taking unearned victory laps vs. the truth). I went with the truth . . . but so couldn’t resist the CNN crazy. 😛

      TX-rifraph in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | October 17, 2021 at 7:42 am

      I do not think CNN is crazy. Their job is to push obvious lies. The “crazy” side is the audience who believes CNN. CNN employees are selected for their skill in pushing ridiculous lies. Intelligence likely interferes with that task. A moral compass would be a disqualifier for the job.

    Milhouse in reply to healthguyfsu. | October 16, 2021 at 10:13 pm

    I don’t agree that that is the framing. On the contrary, it’s exactly what happened. He demanded accountability, and the judge went as easy on him as he reasonably could. I don’t see any implication that he pulled any favors.

E Howard Hunt | October 16, 2021 at 9:37 pm

Why this obsession with CNN? It is tantamount to an admission of impotence and defeat.

Right or wrong, chain of command is near absolute, especially for officers. The Colonel will show up, after retirement, as an expert commentator for someone’s new network.

Good luck.

I was curious about that $5K, so I looked up military pay scales. It looks like an O5 with 17 years in has a base monthly pay of $9293.

The forfeiture is just barely above what an Article 15/ Captain’s Mast can require, IIRC.

I had to look this up. Preliminary research shows the light colonel can’t be on the receiving end of a DD. It’s been a while since I was in, I retired in 2008, and it’s been an even longer while since I had to deal with the UCMJ as a life threatening possibility. But I retain an interest because as long as I draw a DoD pension I can be recalled to active duty and be court martialed.

I’m pretty sure that a court would have to award this guy a DD or BCD. They’re punitive; a DD is the equivalent of a felony.

The colonel’s career is over, obviously. The court didn’t award him (I know that’s a funny way of saying it, but it’s the case) a punitive discharge. The worst the DoN can do to him now is an administrative discharge. Honorable, General (under honorable conditions), or General (under other than honorable conditions [OTH]).

I wonder what type of court martial he faced. As I understand it a general court martial only deals with felony-level crimes. A general court martial could award those types of discharges. Yet he was charged and convicted of misdemeanors. A special court martial can deal with both felony and misdemeanor equivalent offenses, A summary court martial isn’t exactly traffic court, but summary courts martial can’t convict people of felonies.

Tis a mystery. Made more mysterious by the fact reporters have no clue what they’re looking at.

I’m not going to embark on a research project. If anyone else is that interested, be my guest. But something tells me the powers that be in the Blue-Green team were secretly on this guy’s side. They had to do something about him; he couldn’t get away entirely scot free.

I recall a lecture our DI gave us back at Pensacola. He was angry at us for getting caught. NEXT TIME, the Gunny told us, he just didn’t want to hear about it.

The Marines have always been excellent at PR. The top brass may have wanted to come down hard but this is the best course for the service.

    TX-rifraph in reply to Bill West. | October 17, 2021 at 7:50 am

    The CCP and administration want to destroy the US military. This is good for the service but that was not planned or expected by the “leaders,” This ain’t over but they might just want the LTCOL to go away.

In related news. Lloyd Austin has decreed that SEALS who do not take the jab will be given General Discharges, a status that robs them of some of their veterans’ benefits.

If you have any questions about Austin’s eligibility for MENSA, consider that he thinks it is a good idea to piss off a brotherhood of men whose primary skillset is their ability to get into anyplace and kill anyone.

To our brave and patriotic soon-to-be-unemployed SEALS, a hearty Let’s Go, Brandon!

    In related news, Gen Milley reveals it was appropriate to warn China about a potential missile strike because the Chinese gave us a heads up on the Wuhan virus coming to America. Oh never mind. I must be dreaming.

    Arminius in reply to henrybowman. | October 17, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    There are something like 400 SEALs who won’t take the jab. Largely due to religious objections. 400 is a lot, given that there are probably less than 5,000 frogmen alive going back to WWII.

    I could be wrong about the number. I hope somebody corrects me. Please. Because no matter what the correct number is, it just reinforces the point that out of a nation of 320 plus million almost nobody qualifies as a SEAL.

    And the Democrats, forged in the crucible of Yale and Hahhvahhd, think the SEALs are just going to bend the knee.

    I would say I’m not comparing myself to the SEALs. But I am. I broke my body just trying to qualify for BUD/S. One day I woke up aboard NAS Oceana and I couldn’t even roll over to retrieve the remote to change the channel. So I laid there from Saturday to Monday watching whatever god awful thing came on the TV because I couldn’t change the channel, thinking, “Well, it looks like I’m not going to be a SEAL.”

    So I’m not a bad @$$. But I’ve been to the factory. Coronado. Do these Dems even know who they are dealing with? Apparently they think the incoming freshman class at Dartmouth are as tough as they come.

The USMC want him out the door and the hubbub to die down. The likely outcome on the character of his discharge is a general under honorable IMO. This reflects the guilty plea to six offenses while balancing his otherwise exemplary record with the added bonus that he keeps his earned VA benefits.

Two additional possibilities here. He could possibly be reduced in grade by administrative action as a result of his guilty plea. One is required to serve ‘satisfactorily’ while in grade to retain the grade. A guilty plea could be used to reduce him to Major. IMO, that would be stupid from a PR standpoint but from a discipline standpoint I can respect that argument, barely.

If he receives a general but under other than honorable discharge characterization there is an appeal process. Though the Sec Navy is the approval authority on that action by the board which makes a recommendation to the Sec Navy. Normally pro forma but it wouldn’t be in this case.

he blamed his wife leaving him for his outburst so….who knows.