CAMP PENDLETON, California – A Marine who criticized President Barack Obama on his Facebook page has committed misconduct and should be dismissed, a military board recommended late Thursday.
The Marine Corps administrative board made the decision after a daylong hearing at Camp Pendleton for Sgt. Gary Stein.
The board also recommended that Stein be given an other-then-honorable discharge. That would mean Stein would lose his benefits and would not be allowed on any military base.
Military members have certain restrictions placed on their exercise of free speech. Not as much as a civilian might commonly think, but certain real restrictions nonetheless.
SGT Stein ignored- or at best, danced along the edges of- those restrictions. Should he have been dismissed from the service for that? Dunno. It’s really immaterial. But when he ignored the chain of commands directives to cease and desist, he went from a speech issue to a matter of good order and discipline. You can’t exactly tell the chain of command to pound sand and not expect repercussions.
As others have said in various foru, he had to make a choice between being a Marine or mouthing off about the President on Facebook. He made his choice, he can live with the consequences. It’s not like it was a big secret what would happen to him.
Having said all that, I’m a little surprised that the board would recommend a discharge under Other Than Honorable conditions, which is usually the result of either Article 15 or court martial proceedings. A General Dishcarge under Honorable Conditions for the convenience of the government would have been my choice.