Marine Charged With Multiple Violations After Criticizing Leadership

US marine in the MARPAT uniform and protective military eyewear

( – There’s a little-known fact about military service. Once a service member raises their right hand and takes the required oath, they no longer have the same First Amendment rights as civilians. Due to the critical nature of their profession, they cannot publicly engage in politics. They also forfeit the right to speak out against the military command structure or their leadership. An active-duty Marine recently found himself in trouble for speaking his mind regarding his leaders.

On Wednesday, October 6, military officials announced that they charged Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr. with six violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The charges stem from his criticism of military leadership for August’s botched troop withdrawal and evacuation of civilians from Afghanistan.

An attack from a suicide bomber left 13 service members dead, along with several civilians. During the attack, numerous individuals also received injuries, and Scheller spoke out publicly against his leaders for their role in the tragedy.

Scheller stands accused of dereliction of duty, failure to obey a lawful order, disrespect toward superior commissioned officers, and three other related charges.

Officials released Scheller from pretrial detention in a military brig on Tuesday. He spent more than a week awaiting charges. A military spokesperson told members of the media a date hadn’t been set yet for his upcoming court-martial hearing.

We will keep you updated on this extraordinary case as more information becomes available. What do you think? Should active-duty military personnel be allowed to speak out against their commanders?

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