Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller doubled down on his call for accountability from the Pentagon’s top brass and announced that he is resigning his commission in a new video released Sunday.
Col. Scheller was relieved of his duties as a battalion commander late last week after posting a viral video Thursday calling for senior military leadership to accept the blame for their role in the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan but said the Pentagon stopped short of discharging him from the service with under three years left until he could fully retire.
“I’m resigning my commission as a United States Marine effective now,” Col. Scheller said in a video posted Sunday. “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 forfeited [all my retirement entitlements]. I don’t want a single dollar. I don’t want any money from the VA.”
“All I asked for was accountability of my senior leaders,” he continued. “When there are clear, obvious mistakes that were made, I’m not saying we can take back what has been done.”
Col. Scheller posted his original video Thursday after 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suicide blast targeting the Kabul airport amid the scramble to evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghan refugees. He said in the post that he knew one of the service members personally.
“I want to say this very strongly: I have been fighting for 17 years,” he said Thursday wearing his Marine battle dress uniform in a video posted on Facebook. “I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders [that] I demand accountability.”
After the video was posted, Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger said Col. Scheller had been relieved of his duties as an infantry training battalion commander “due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command.”
Col. Scheller said Sunday that he was not facing pending legal action for his comments after being relieved of command, and could continue serving until he was eligible for retirement.
In Col. Scheller’s video Sunday, he spoke wearing civilian attire seated at a table displaying a chessboard in what he described as an abandoned bus in North Carolina. He said after his video went viral on Thursday, his boss asked him what he was trying to accomplish by posting the video.
“And that was a very tough question for me. And my response was I want senior leaders to accept accountability,” he said. “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.”
Col. Scheller said he had received an outpouring of support after posting the video Thursday, but also received criticism on social media from former military officers. One former officer who Col. Scheller described as a mentor said he should resign.
“Of all the noise going out there, that one comment has just played through my head,” Col. Scheller said before announcing his resignation.
Several of his supporters set up GoFundMe campaigns. Col. Scheller said he wanted the money to go to the families of those lost in the attack in Kabul.
In Sunday’s post, Col. Scheller vowed to continue fighting for accountability and concluded with a threat to dismantle the status quo.
“You have no idea what I’m capable of doing,” he said.
“Follow me and we will bring the whole f—-ing system down,” he continued. “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.”