The Marine who publicly criticized a chaotic Afghanistan exit, Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr., is using his “17 years of good service” to make a case for an honorable discharge, according to Scheller’s attorney.
“Consider that for the past 17 years, he’s either been in constant combat or training for combat, and training others for combat,” attorney Tim Parlatore told “Fox & Friends Weekend” co-host Pete Hegseth on Sunday.
“Before this one incident right at the end, Stu Scheller really had a phenomenal career,” he continued, “and so we are asking the Secretary of the Navy to give him a discharge that is consistent with the entirety of his career — not just this one event at the end.”
Parlatore’s comments come after 12 Republican lawmakers backed the motion for an honorable discharge in a letter to U.S. Navy Secretary Carlos del Toro Friday, vouching for Scheller’s “valorous service record.”
Last month, Scheller was charged with nine counts of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice for posting a viral video slamming military leaders for the suicide bombing that killed 13 service members and at least 169 Afghan civilians.
“By pleading guilty Lt. Col. Scheller took responsibility for speaking out against whoever was responsible for the 4th deadliest day in the 20 years of armed conflict in Afghanistan,’ the lawmakers wrote.
“The idea of picking a jury and pleading not guilty was never something that entered Stu’s mind,” Parlatore said. “From the moment that he made this video, he knew that he would be held accountable and he was willing to accept that.”
Scheller’s parents also joined “Fox & Friends Weekend” to say it’d be a “travesty of justice” for their son not to receive an honorable discharge.
“It’s been very, very disheartening,” his mother Cathy Scheller told Hegseth. “I would like to put this ugly chapter behind us and move forward.”
“He is still under a gag order,” Stu Scheller Sr. said. “He can’t even post a picture of his dog. It is one of the most [sic] strictest gag orders ever… We’re just in a waiting game.”
Retired Army Staff Sergeant and Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia later told Hegseth in a separate interview Sunday that while he doesn’t disagree with an honorable discharge, the military isn’t a place for political individualism.
“I don’t want pro-Biden lieutenant colonels, just like I don’t want pro-Trump lieutenant colonels,” Bellavia said. “I want lieutenant colonels. If Congress wants to do something that’s going to benefit the military, remove all social media from all field-grade officers immediately.”
The Schellers say they’re hoping for a discharge response from Secretary del Toro by Veterans Day.
“I’ve always believed that the Marine Corps has stood for honor, integrity and accountability,” Scheller Sr. said, “and I’d like to see them show that.”