Marine officer who criticized military leaders faces pre-trial hearing

Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller, the Marine officer who went viral with his criticism of military leaders who were responsible for the pullout from Afghanistan, is scheduled to face a pre-trial hearing on Thursday.  

He hasn’t been charged yet, but according to legal documents, he is facing potential charges of conduct unbecoming an officer, contempt toward officials, disobeying a senior officer and failure to obey an order or regulation.  He is currently being held in the brig.

In August, Scheller posted a video denouncing senior military leadership in the wake of the Kabul attack that killed 13 U.S. service members. He called on top civilian and military leaders to admit the mistakes they had made in the course of the Afghanistan withdrawal. His post came after the confirmation that a number of Marines had been killed in the suicide bombing. Scheller also said that one of the Marines killed was someone who was close to him. 

“People are upset because their senior leaders let them down and none of them are raising their hands and accepting responsibility and saying we messed this up,” Scheller said in the video. 

He criticized Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the nation’s top military officer, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley for their incorrect predictions that the Afghan National Security Forces would be able to withstand Taliban attacks and for the closure in July of Bagram Air Base, which meant that evacuations would go through Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. 

“Potentially all those people did die in vain if we don’t have senior leaders who own up and raise their hand and say we did not do this well in the end,” he said of the sacrifices of the past 20 years. 

Scheller, who was the battalion commander for the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion, based in Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, previously served in the Marine Infantry.