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A West Point cadet whose pro-communism messages on social media were reported to his superiors in 2015 still managed to graduate from the military academy and currently serves in the field with an Army combat team, a new report says.
The social media activity of 2nd Lt. Spenser Rapone was concerning, retired Army Lt. Col. Robert Heffington, who taught history that year at the Academy, stated under oath, The Daily Caller reports.
“I cannot reconcile the image of a first class cadet at West Point with the things he has posted online for the world to see,” Heffington said in a written copy of the statement. “To me, these are red flags that cannot be ignored, and I fail to see how this individual can possibly graduate and become a commissioned officer in six months.”
One of the tweets Heffington was alarmed about was Rapone reportedly writing “F*ck this country and its false freedom."
“From his various online rantings and posts, it appears that DCT Rapone is an avowed Marxist, which is completely out of line with the values of this nation and its Army,” Heffington said. “He also… even implicitly justifies the actions of ISIS and blames the United States for terrorist attacks.”
In late 2015, Rapone was removed from his Ranger battalion for violating standards and graduated from the Academy the following year as a cadet. He currently is in the field with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, according to the Army Times, quoting Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Tonya Stokes. Stokes says the division is also investigating his behavior.
In one incident, Heffington wrote that he confronted Rapone after he heard yelling coming from a professor’s office.
The cadet snapped back, “Sir, you don’t have the right to use my honor against me!” Heffington said. Heffington added that he had served as a commissioned officer for 18 years after graduating from West Point in 1997.
Rapone recently posted online two photographs that appear to be from his graduation at West Point in May 2016, The Hill reported.
In one photo, he is holding the inside of his cap to the camera, showing the message “communism will win” written on the inside. In another, he reveals a Che Guevara T-shirt beneath his uniform shirt. Guevara was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary who partnered with Fidel Castro during the Cuban Revolution.
In other social media posts, Rapone reportedly says he will “happily dance” on the grave of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and calls Defense Secretary James Mattis “vile” and “evil.” McCain, who was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for more than five years before his release in 1973, recently revealed he is battling brain cancer.
Two recent Academy graduates also told The Daily Caller that they were aware of Rapone’s reputation before he became a news item in late September.
The school told Fox News that it is looking into the newly-surfaced report and will release a statement later.
It said previously that “2nd Lieutenant Rapone's actions in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army.”
According to the Army Times, Rapone has been awarded a Good Conduct Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, an Army Achievement Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, among others.