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Marine critical of Obama should be booted from service, panel says

April 5, 2012 | 11:33 pm

Hearing set for Marine who criticized President ObamaA Marine Corps board Thursday night recommended that a sergeant who made “contemptuous” comments about President Obama be booted from the service and be given an other than honorable discharge.

Sgt. Gary Stein, who left a variety of anti-Obama comments on Facebook pages, was stoic when the three-member board announced its decision about 11 p.m. after an all-day hearing at Camp Pendleton.

The final decision on Stein’s status will be made by the commanding general of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

Stein, 26, a nine-year veteran who was deployed to Iraq, had no comment after the board announced its decision following 40 minutes of deliberation. But J. Mark Brewer, one of Stein’s civilian lawyers, said, “We’re disappointed but we’re going to keep fighting for this Marine.”

Stein was accused of making statements criticizing the commander-in-chief on several Facebook pages, including one he created entitled Armed Forces Tea Party, and thus undermining "good order and discipline."

Among other comments, Stein said he would not follow an illegal order to kill Americans or take away their weapons. He called Obama a coward and an enemy and urged people to vote him out of office in 2012. He sold bumperstickers which said, "NOBAMA 2012."

Military law prohibits uniformed personnel from making comments critical of their chain of command, including the commander-in-chief, or engaging in political activity in a context that suggests they are acting as military members.

The vote of the three-member board that hears administrative discharge cases was unanimous. The board gave no explanation of its vote.

If upheld by the general at the recruit depot, Stein will be discharged before the end of his enlistment set for late July. An other than honorable discharge would make him ineligible for veterans benefits.

RELATED:

Marine sergeant being dismissed for criticizing Obama

Marine who criticized Obama: Charges 'drummed up against me'

Judge rejects bid by ACLU, others to block hearing for Marine in Obama case

-- Tony Perry at Camp Pendleton

Photo: Gary Stein

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