Army accepts resignation of West Point grad who wrote ‘Communism will win’ in graduation cap

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Army Accepts Resignation Of West Point Grad Who Wrote 'Communism Will Win' In Grad Cap

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A West Point graduate and Army officer has resigned after investigators said he advocated for a communist revolution.

Second Lt. Spenser Rapone, 26, received a “less than honorable discharge” from the Army on Monday, less than one year after he posted a series of photos on Twitter of his West Point graduation, displaying messages of communist support hidden under his military uniform.

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An Army investigation found that Rapone advocated for a socialist revolution online and made disparaging remarks about high-ranking officials, according to the Washington Post.

The Pennsylvania native was nicknamed the “commie cadet” after posting the Twitter photos.

In one image, he raised his fist and showed his Army cap, with the handwritten message “Communism will win.”

In another, he opened his dress uniform to expose a T-shirt with an image of socialist icon Che Guevara.

Spenser Rapone, Rapone displays a shirt bearing the image of socialist icon Che Guevara under his uniform, after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
Caption
Spenser Rapone, Rapone displays a shirt bearing the image of socialist icon Che Guevara under his uniform, after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

Credit: Spenser Rapone via AP

Credit: Spenser Rapone via AP

The United States Military Academy at West Point said that his actions “in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army.”

On Monday, the Army said it had conducted a “full investigation” into Rapone’s behavior and “appropriate action was taken,” leading to Rapone’s resignation.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla), called on the secretary of the Army to remove Rapone from the officer ranks.

"While in uniform, Spenser Rapone advocated for communism and political violence, and expressed support and sympathy for enemies of the United States," Rubio said Monday. "I'm glad to see that they have given him an 'other-than-honorable' discharge."

Rapone followed up with a tweet on Monday showing him pointing his middle finger at the entrance to Fort Drum, accompanied by the words “One final salute.”

Before his time at West Point, Rapone was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and was an assistant machine gunner in the Khost Province.

During his deployment, he learned West Point fulfills a certain quota of accepting enlisted soldiers every year -- so he applied and and was accepted.

"I consider myself a revolutionary socialist," Rapone told The Associated Press. "I would encourage all soldiers who have a conscience to lay down their arms and join me and so many others who are willing to stop serving the agents of imperialism and join us in a revolutionary movement."

Greg Rinckey, an attorney specializing in military law, told the Associated Press it is rare for a West Point officer to receive a less-than-honorable discharge, and that the military academy could seek repayment of the cost of Rapone’s West Point education, because he didn’t serve the full five-year service required upon graduation.

“I knew there could be repercussions," said Rapone, who is scheduled to speak at a socialism conference in Chicago next month. “Of course my military career is dead in the water. On the other hand, many people reached out and showed me support. There are a lot of veterans both active duty and not that feel like I do.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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