A West Point Graduate of the U.S. Military Academy Tweeted a Picture with the Message 'Communism Will Win'
WATERTOWN, NY— June 20, 2018
In his the first photo he is wearing a smirk, he raises his fist and flips over his cap to reveal the hand-scrawled message: "Communism will win."
These pictures have provoked a strong reaction from the public and prompted an investigation of the case. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, called on the secretary of the Army to remove Rapone from the officer ranks.
Less than a year afterward top brass at Fort Drum's 10th Mountain Division accepted Rapone's resignation after an earlier reprimand for "conduct unbecoming of an officer." and added that his actions "in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army."
He added that according to an investigation, it was discovered the officer in question had gone online to "advocate for a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers and U.S. officials."
One day later, the young man posted another picture that showed him extending a middle finger at a sign at the entrance to Fort Drum, accompanied by the words, "One final salute."
In addition he posted the photos to Twitter.
In case there was any lingering doubt, hasta la victoria siempre pic.twitter.com/0XrW38wcCk— Rudi (Dutschke) Can’t Fail (@punkproletarian) September 25, 2017
"I consider myself a revolutionary socialist," the 26-year-old Rapone told a journalist in an interview. "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."
Rapone had spent most of his life in the service; he was recognized participant of the Afghanistan war as an assistant machine gunner in Khost Province before he was accepted into the U.S. Military Academy. And as he said, his views only hardened during his studies of history as one of the academy's "Long Gray Line."
"While in uniform, Spenser Rapone advocated for communism and political violence, and expressed support and sympathy for enemies of the United States," U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said. "I'm glad to see that they have given him an 'other-than-honorable' discharge."
Greg Rinckey, an attorney specializing in military law, said it's rare for an officer out of West Point to receive an other-than-honorable discharge. He added that it's also possible the military academy could seek repayment of the cost of Rapone's education because he didn't serve the full five-year service obligation 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."