An active-duty Marine Corps lieutenant colonel was relieved of his duties Friday after publicly demanding that leadership take responsibility for the deadly disaster in Afghanistan.
Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller exclaimed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley and others for not “raising their hands and accepting responsibility or saying, ‘We screwed this up.'”
“The reason people are so upset on social media right now isn’t because the Marine abandoned someone on the battlefield,” Scheller said in a nearly five-minute video on Facebook and LinkedIn.
“People are angry because their higher leaders let them down. And none of them raise their hands and accept responsibility or say, “We screwed up.”
Marine Corp Lt. Col. Stuart Steller said in widely circulated video that military leaders must take responsibility for failed, fatal evacuation from Afghanistan
Follow-up post to the video in which Scheller said he was being relived of his duty
The video was shared more than 23,000 times on Facebook Friday night and has received more than 3,100 comments, most of which support Scheller’s courage to speak out.
It is unheard of for an active naval commander to rob military leaders and political officials in public.
In the video, he said he knew he was putting his amazing 17-year career, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, on the line by posting the video, but he still ran head-on into metaphorical gunfire.
“I’ve been fighting for 17 years. I’m willing to throw everything away to say to my senior leaders, “I demand responsibility.”
“I think what you believe in can only be determined by what you’re willing to risk,” he said. So I think it gives me a morale boost to demand the same honesty, integrity and responsibility from my senior leaders.”
Scheller was relieved of his duties as a battalion commander after a stellar career spanning 17 years. “I’ve been fighting for 17 years. I’m willing to throw everything away to say to my senior leaders, “I demand responsibility,” he said
Scheller said in the video that he lost someone he had a personal relationship with in Thursday’s suicide bombing
The 13 US servicemen who died in the explosion in Kabul
Max Soviak, 22, Marine Corpsman from Berlin Heights, Ohio
Soviak graduated from Edison High School in 2017, where he played soccer, before eventually moving to Guam.
Soviak described himself on Instagram as a “patriot” and his photos showed him an active lifestyle on boats, beaches and mountains.
He was also proud of his military service, posting photos with his fellow soldiers and commenting on photos of his friends.
Rylee McCollum, 20, Marine Corporal from Riverton, Wyoming
McCollum loved the military from the age of three, and at the age of 18 his father brought Jim the enlistment forms to sign.
He loved American history and enjoyed wrestling, mixed martial arts and training children in sports.
McCollum’s goal after the Marines was to become a history teacher and wrestling coach, his father said.
He married Jiennah in the summer of 2020 and their first child is expected in September.
David Lee Espinoza,
Lieutenant Colonel Scheller said he had a personal relationship with one of the Marines killed in Thursday’s ISIS-K bombing and “all those people may have died in vain” if the leaders don’t take over the debacle.
He said it was a major strategic mistake not to secure Bagram Air Force Base before the people were evacuated.
Instead, the US relied on Kabul airport as the only way to fly out of the country.
On Friday, military experts pinpointed the sudden overnight withdrawal of US troops from Bagram on July 2 as the moment the US gave Afghanistan away.
In a follow-up post later in the day Friday, he said he had been relieved of his duties.
maj. Marine Corps spokesman Jim Stenger told DailyMail.com in a statement that Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller was relieved of command by Colonel David Emmel, Commanding Officer of the School of Infantry-East, “because of a loss of trust and confidence.” in his power to command.’
“Obviously this is an emotional time for many Marines, and we encourage anyone struggling at this time to seek help or speak to a fellow Marine. There’s a forum where Marines can voice their differences with the chain of command, but it’s not social media,” Major Stenger said.
In a Facebook post, Steller said, “My chain of command is doing exactly what I would if I were in their shoes,” the Marine Commander said in his Facebook post.
“America has many problems, but it is my home. It is where my three sons will become men.
America is still the light that shines in a fog of chaos. When my career with the Marine Corps comes to an end, I look forward to a new beginning.
My life goal is to make America the most lethal and effective tool for foreign diplomacy. While my days of hand-to-hand violence may end, I see a new light on the horizon.’
Pentagon officials on Friday said there was only one suicide bomber at the Kabul airport on Thursday and not two as previously claimed, adding to confusion over the attack and fears of the ongoing operation on the ground.
Army General Hank Taylor said at a briefing Friday: “I can confirm that we do not believe there was a second explosion at or near the Baron hotel. It was a suicide bomber. In the confusion of highly dynamic events, information can become confused,” he said.
He didn’t say whether the bomb that went off was a car bomb or a bomber in a vest. Both were described on the scene and by Washington officials on Thursday. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby was among those who confirmed both blasts.
At the same briefing on Friday, Kirby revealed that thousands of terrorists from ISIS-K, the group responsible for the airport attack, had escaped from Bagram prison earlier this summer after Biden’s troops left the base in July, leaving the number was in the minority. Afghan troops to monitor them.
The detainees were released by the Taliban on August 15.
Thirteen US troops and 170 Afghans were killed at the airport on Thursday when a single suicide bomber detonated his vest. The first four have been named; Marines Doctor Max Soviak and Marines Rylee McCollum, David Lee Espinoza and Kareem Nikoui.