SAN DIEGO -- A sergeant will be discharged for criticizing President Barack Obama on Facebook in a case that called into question the Pentagon's policies about social media and its limits on the speech of active duty military personnel, the Marine Corps said yesterday.
Sgt. Gary Stein will get an other-than-honorable discharge and lose most of his benefits for violating the policies, the Corps said.
The nine-year Marine argued that he was exercising his constitutional rights to free speech. "I'm having a hard time seeing how 15 words on Facebook could have ruined my nine-year career," he told The Associated Press.
Gary Kreep, an attorney for Stein, said he would pursue administrative appeals within the Marine Corps but anticipates the effort will fail.
Stein stated March 1 on a Facebook page used by Marine meteorologists, "Screw Obama and I will not follow all orders from him." Stein later clarified that statement, saying he would not follow unlawful orders.
Brig. Gen. Daniel Yoo, the commanding general of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, said evidence supported an administrative board's recommendation to discharge Stein. -- AP