TEMECULA (CBS) — A military board says a Camp Pendleton Marine who created an anti-President Obama Facebook page should be dismissed from the armed services.
Sgt. Gary Stein says he was only expressing his personal views and exercising his First Amendment right of free speech.
KCAL9′s Greg Mills spoke to Stein Friday at the Marine’s Temecula home. “We’ll see what happens in several weeks,” he said. “We’ll head back to San Diego … and federal court. And we’ll see what happens there.”
Stein, a 9-year Marine veteran, started a Facebook page called “Armed Forces Tea Party.” The page encourages “active, inactive, or retired members of the United States Armed Forces to stand with the Tea Party movement.”
Stein appeared before a day-long Marine Corps administrative board Thursday. A prosecutor made mention of several Stein posts on the Facebook page that held the President “in a less than flattering light,” Mills reported.
The prosecutor said Stein repeatedly violated military policy with his Facebook page.
According to the Pentagon, uniformed military personnel cannot sponsor a political club; participate in any TV or radio program or group discussion that advocates for or against a political party, candidate or cause; or speak at any event promoting a political movement. It is also against policy for commissioned to use contemptuous words against senior officials, including the defense secretary or the president
Stein told Mills he will fight any effort to remove him from the Marine Corps.
If he is discharged with less than honorable status, Stein would lose all his benefits and not be allowed on a military base in the future.
Stein could not comment on the hearing but explained his Facebook page makes reference to the fact that the opinions expressed were just his own and not the Marines.
The prosecutor argued that the posts could still pose a threat to good order and discipline, especially among younger Marines.
A general will now decide whether to accept the board’s recommendation to boot Stein from the military.