Sgt. Gary Stein, 26, of Temecula, Calif., told Human Events in an exclusive interview that he wasn’t surprised to learn Wednesday that Brig. Gen. Daniel Yoo had opted to accept the decision of a panel that recommended Stein’s discharge earlier this month.
“I planned for the worst and hoped for the best, and the worst happened,” he said.
Now, Stein said, he plans to pursue civilian employment in California, likely in the real estate field, where he is already a licensed agent, but possibly in weather technology instead.
Though Stein said he had received several requests from local conservative organizations to speak about his experiences throughout his monthlong discharge ordeal, he wasn’t rushing to secure a book deal or enter the world of politics.
“It’s been a running joke,” he said. “If I wrote a book, it would be very short and use small words.”
Still, he said when people called him the conservative voice of his generation, it made him thoughtful. “I’d like to get into talk radio,” he said. “Obviously, I like to talk. And I think I’m very articulate.”
The Armed Forces Tea Party page would remain active, Stein said, and he hoped to see the page hit 30,000 members as early as Wednesday evening.
While Stein does not regret starting the page or expressing his beliefs, he said he wished he could take back some of the inflammatory statements directed at President Barack Obama, including some that precipitated his discharge.
“We have to articulate conservatism the best we can,” he said. “The comments I made are not reflective of that.”
However, the fact that his career was ended by private comments he made on a Facebook page still troubles Stein, on his own behalf and on the behalf of other service members.
“This is a huge travesty to social media when it comes to military members,” he said. “This means anything you post on Facebook can be used against you in a military court.”
Also absent from his list of life regrets? Joining the Marine Corps.
“I’ve loved the last nine years of my life,” he said. “I’ve loved my officers and some of the people I’ve worked for. I’d never go back and change working for the military.”