Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller has laid a stellar 17-year U.S. Marine Corps career on the altar, sacrificed for honor and principle.
On Sunday, the commander announced he was resigning his commission, effective immediately, after igniting a firestorm of controversy last week when he released an online video calling on upper brass to hold themselves accountable for their mistakes in the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. service members at the hands of two suicide bombers.
Eleven Marines, a Navy corpsman, and an Army soldier were among the dead in that attack last week, as well as 169 Afghans.
“People are upset because their senior leaders let them down, and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability,” he said in that video.
The Marine Corps responded by relieving Scheller of his command, he said, telling him that he had been “relieved for cause based on a lack of trust and confidence.”
On Sunday, Scheller released a passionate YouTube video detailing his current state of mind and his decision to resign from the Corps, acknowledging the sacrifice of accrued benefits.
He explained in the video that while relieved of his command, he’s still a U.S. Marine and that there were currently no legal actions be pursued against him.
“I think the plan was to hide me away for three years, let an investigation take place but not send me to a board of inquiry where they would have separated me on other than honorable conditions,” Scheller said. “And so, I had the choice where I could remain silent, keep my retirement for three years and, quite honestly, live the dream for not many responsibilities in terms of leaning into the next thing, if that’s what I so chose.”
After citing a former commander of his, whom he said wrote in a LinkedIn discussion that if Scheller was honorable, he would resign his commission, he did just that.
“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. I’m resigning my commission as a United States Marine, effective now,” he said. “I am forfeiting retirements, 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 — I’m sure I’m entitled 100%.”
“All I asked for was accountability of my senior leaders when there are clear, obvious mistakes that were made,” Scheller continued. “I’m not saying we can take back what has been done. All I asked for was accountability.”
Commenting on his request, he said he believed that would go a long way for service members, including those battling PTSD and “struggling with purpose.”
Scheller acknowledged that he was forfeiting a potentially $2 million pension fund and said that money “should go back to all the senior general officers.”
“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.
He stressed that going after “stability and money can make you a slave to the system and it can make you compromise what you truly believe in.”
“I don’t need a single dollar. I just need every single person that’s willing to go back outside the wire every single day to wear a blue-collar and just going to work every single day and feed their families. Those are the people that I need,” Scheller said. “Follow me and we will bring the whole f—ing system down. I am honorable and you can ask any Marine who served with me for 17 years. I dare you to ask them all and find out what I’m made of. We’re just getting started.”
In speaking to the New York Post, Scheller effectively warned senior leaders of the potential consequences if they refuse to take responsibility for their failures.
“The baby boomers’ turn is over,” he said. “I demand accountability, at all levels. If we don’t get it, I’m bringing it.”
Scheller went on to channel Thomas Jefferson, noting that “every generation needs a revolution.”
A Marine Corps spokesman told Fox News the military branch is aware of the video that Scheller released Sunday.
“The Marine Corps is taking appropriate action to ensure the safety and well-being of Lt. Col. Scheller and his family,” Capt. Sam Stephenson said. “As this is a developing situation, we cannot comment further at this time.”
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