Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller on Sunday announced in a video that he was resigning his commission as a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps, following being fired as a battalion commander for asking for accountability from his senior leadership on the botched Afghanistan withdrawal.
In his original video, posted Thursday after the deaths of 13 service members, including one he knew personally, he said, “I want to say this very strongly. 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 announced in his video on Sunday, after the enormous outpouring of support and debate over his video, that he was resigning his commission as an officer in the Marine Corps — short of the 20 years needed to be eligible for lifelong retirement and medical benefits.
I want to make the announcement today. After 17 years, I currently not pending legal action and I can 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. I’m sure there’s some [Marine Administrative Message] on how I’m supposed to do that and I’ll work through that. But I have 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. I’m sure I’m entitled to a hundred percent. I, you know, breathe on the smell and smoke of burning shit for years. I don’t want any of it. All I asked for was accountability of my senior leaders. When there are clear, obvious mistakes that were made, I’m not saying we can take back what has been done. All I asked for was accountability for people to comment on what I said and to say, ‘Yes, some mistakes were made and had they done that. I wouldn’t have gone back into rank and file, submitted and accomplished what I wanted the morning after I posted my video and I came into work, my boss came in and he asked me, ‘What were you trying to accomplish?’
And that was a very tough question for me. And my response was I want 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. And I haven’t received that. For the over $2 million that I would potentially receive in retirement for the rest of my life, for the however much extra the disability would be, 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.
I want to be clear that I love the Marine Corps. I think, you know, there’s been a fascination with special forces over the last 15 years, special forces people that come in in the middle of the night and they killed the biggest targets that the United States has. And I have much respect. I worked in [Marine Special Operations Command] for a year, but what I’ll say is the conventional Marine on the ground who has to smell burning shit. Who, when I was in Ramadi, I was exposed to it so much that burning shit actually smelt like bacon and eggs. And I grew to enjoy the smell. Those people who are there every day, don’t get to leave the next morning or in the middle of the night, who go outside the wire, get blown up, bring their Marine back and then go back out there the next day. They don’t get the credit they deserve and they deserve accountability. ….
You have no idea what I’m capable of doing. To all the congressmen, senators, every media station, across the globe, to all the rich philanthropists, I appreciate the support and I’m going to need your support. … 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 go into work every single day and feed their families, those are the people that I need. Follow me and we will bring the whole fucking system down. I am honorable. 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.