The US Marine Corps officer who was relieved of his command over a battalion for chastising his bosses over the botched Afghan withdrawal has revealed that he was ordered to undergo a mental health screening.
“When I went into work this morning, I was ordered by my commanding officer to go to the Hospital for a mental health screening,” Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller wrote on Facebook on Monday.
“I was evaluated by the mental health specialists and then sent on my way. My CO is a standup guy, and I understand why he did it,” he added.
A day earlier, the officer said in a YouTube video that he was sticking by his guns and resigning his commission — walking away from a $2 million pension after 17 years of service.
Scheller explained that despite being relieved of his duties, he was still an active Marine — until he completes his resignation, which he said was sparked in part by a former commander who wrote on LinkedIn that he should resign “‘if he was honorable.”
“All I asked for was accountability of my senior leaders when there are clear, obvious mistakes that were made,” he said. “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, mistakes were made.’”
Last week, Scheller posted a video that went viral on Facebook in which he ripped into military leadership following the devastating suicide bombing at Kabul airport, which killed 13 US service members and scores of Afghans.
In his post on Monday, Scheller wrote that the order to undergo a mental-health check
“brings up a couple of important issues:
“First, excusing the actions of service members because of ‘PTSD’ does more damage to service members than any trauma in combat. I have been in very traumatic combat situations,” he wrote.
“But because of that I am STRONGER. Post traumatic growth. If you’re worried about someone… you should reach out and check on them. But never excuse a service member’s actions with a wave of the hand to PTSD. You are crippling them by failing to hold them accountable,” Scheller continued.
“And for the people who checked on me after my last video… I’m sorry if I scared you. But know that despite my emotions, my words are always carefully thought out,” he added.
“Second, as stated in previous posts, accountability from senior leaders would alleviate feelings of guilt or shame in service members more than individual counseling. It would save thousands of lives. On May 6th Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said, ‘the most immediate threat [to the DoD] is COVID,’” he wrote.
“According to the 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report the number of Veteran suicide deaths documented in 2018 was well over 6K. And the numbers continue to rise. From a statistical perspective, it’s pretty easy to argue that COVID isn’t the biggest threat,” Scheller continued.
“Third, for all my followers… I’m not going anywhere. Everyone is scared that the weight of the system is crashing down on me. But I know something you don’t… it’s the system that’s going to break. Not me,” he said.
“I am moving forward with my resignation. I, like many of you, am very scared. But courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the ability to overcome it. At the end of the day, if I stand with accountability and integrity, the system can’t beat me,” he added.
The Post has reached out to the US Marines for comment.