A Camp Pendleton Marine who landed in hot water when he made critical remarks about President Obama on Facebook will be involuntarily discharged, officials said Wednesday. He remains in the Marine Corps as he deals with a recently diagnosed medical condition.
Marine Sgt. Gary Stein got an “other-than-honorable” discharge for . He later clarified his remarks by saying he would not follow any "illegal" orders.
that he was protected under the First Amendment when he made his comments. The incident caused .
Despite the discharge, Stein will not cease active duty immediately. The release date was postponed because he was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis, a throat condition that is requiring him to get a biopsy.
“I have too many white blood cells in my throat,” the Temecula resident told Patch, adding that his throat closes while he eats. He is currently covered by Tricare military insurance, and his discharge was delayed by a few weeks so he can be treated, he said.
Adding to the stress of a discharge is the uncertainty as to how he will be covered when he leaves the Marine Corps. Ultimately, he said, it will come down to whether or not he will receive care at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Financially it can be a little rough, obviously,” he said. “Medically, it’s going to be a little tough.”
For service members with an other-than-honorable discharges, the VA decides on treatment on a case-by case basis, according to the California Department of Veterans Affairs.
In addition to being a Marine, Stein and his wife are expecting another child on July 6. He said he plans to continue his career as a real estate broker in Temecula after he exits the service.
His rank will be reduced to lance corporal, according to Brig. Gen. Daniel Yoo of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
Stein said he is disappointed in the decision.
“I love the Marine Corps. This is not how I wanted it to go,” he said. “My military lawyers did everything they could do.”
Stein, a 9-year Marine, attracted national media attention after he started the Armed Forces Tea Party Facebook page in 2010.
As Stein leaves the service, he remains optimistic.
“I fall back on God. I know he wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle,” he said. “I’m going to trust him and I’m going to do what I’m going to do.”