U.S.

U.S. Army Kicks Out West Point Grad Who Wrote 'Communism Will Win' On Cap

The Army officially kicked out a West Point graduate who made waves last year after posting a photo of himself holding a cap that said “Communism will win.” Spenser Rapone left the Army with an other-than-honorable discharge after delivering his resignation Monday.

Rapone caused an uproar in the military community last year after he posted two photos from his West Point graduation. In the first, the cadet is seen with his dress uniform open to a T-shirt of Marxist icon Che Guevara. In another, he’s seen raising his fist and revealing the message “Communism will win” written under his cap.

GettyImages-74337615 A cadet holds his diploma and cap during the West Point graduation ceremony on May 26, 2007. A 2016 West Point graduate (not pictured) who expressed support for communism was discharged from the Army on Monday. Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

The second lieutenant, who earned the nickname “Commie Cadet,” is officially out of the Army after top brass at Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division in New York accepted his resignation. Rapone had been reprimanded for “conduct unbecoming of an officer” after an investigation found he went online to promote a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers, he told the Associated Press.

In a statement to Newsweek, Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jason Brown said, “Due to privacy act restrictions, we are limited in what information we can provide. We can confirm, however, that the Army conducted a full investigation and that appropriate action was taken. We now consider the matter closed.”

Rapone told the AP that he considers himself a “revolutionary socialist” who encourages fellow soldiers to lay down their arms and join in a revolutionary movement. The 26-year-old said his belief in communism arose from his time as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan before being accepted at West Point.

The controversial photos were taken during his May 2016 West Point graduation, but he decided to post them on Twitter in September 2017 in solidarity with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

After the photos were posted, West Point said in a statement that Rapone’s actions “in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army.” According to the AP, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called for Rapone to be removed from the officer ranks.

Rubio celebrated Rapone’s discharge in a statement to the AP Monday. “While in uniform, Spenser Rapone advocated for communism and political violence, and expressed support and sympathy for enemies of the United States,” Rubio said. “I’m glad to see that they have given him an ‘other-than-honorable’ discharge.”

Rapone did not respond to Newsweek’s request for comment Tuesday. However, he gave his response to the Army in a photo posted Monday showing him giving the middle finger to the entrance sign at Fort Drum. Rapone captioned the photo “One final salute.”

It is unclear whether Rapone will be liable for the tuition the military covered for his education. West Point requires its cadets to serve five years in the Army after graduation. Brown did not immediately answer Newsweek's questions regarding Rapone's obligations to West Point. 

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