Marine Faces Dismissal Over Facebook Page

This isn't the first time his Facebook page has caused trouble for Camp Pendleton Marine Gary Stein

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Camp Pendleton Marine said he faces dismissal and demotion for comments he posted to his Facebook page.

    Sgt. Gary Stein, a nine-year member of the U.S. Marines, started a Facebook group called "Armed Forces Tea Party."

    Stein spoke with NBCSanDiego in 2010 explaining the page was launched as "an open forum so active duty military, their family and friends can speak their minds as tea partiers."

    At that time, a Camp Pendleton spokesperson confirmed the Corps wasn't considering charges but Stein volunteered to take down the page while he reviewed the rules at the request of his superiors.

    He said he determined he was not in violation and relaunched the page.

    After Stein posted objections to President Barack Obama's healthcare policy and encouraged others to go against the orders of superiors if they disagree with the actions, the U.S. Marines Corps decided to reconsider.

    The Marine Corps said in a statement that Stein's commanding officer ordered a preliminary inquiry on March 8 after receiving allegations that Stein posted the political statements violating the Pentagon's directives.

    Specifically, the military started monitoring Stein's Facebook group after he posted his stance against prosecuting Americans for burning the Quran in Afghanistan.

    Stein's superiors have inquired into his activities and officials told Stein he is in violation of Pentagon policy that bans service members from political activities.

    According to Stein he has been placed on a desk job with no access to computers at the San Diego Military Recruiting Depot.

    He told the Associated Press he planned to fight the charges. He had applied to extend his service, which was set to expire in a few months.

    Stein believes his remarks are part of his freedom of speech and continues to post on the page, defending his actions.

    His most recent post from Tuesday night says:

    "I am facing an Administrative Discharge from the Marine Corps for simply expressing my right to free speech and stating I would not follow unlawful orders...It means that military do not rate the same basic rights that all other Americans do. I don't remember reading that in the Constitution."

    The post continues, "I swore an oath to obey the orders of the President… But those orders must be lawful."

    Stein adds that he never spoke on behalf of the Marine Corps or in uniform.

    In addition to being discharged, Stein claims his rank may be reduced to lance corporal if he is proven to be in violation.

    The Facebook page has more than 18,000 likes.