Army’s ‘Commie Cadet’ Disciplined; Masses Fail To Rise Up

Analysis
This photo of Army 2nd Lt. Spenser Rapone went viral in September 2017.
Photo courtesy of Twitter.

Comrades! From deep inside the Pentagon bureau of Task & Purpose’s news collective, I bring you the story of Army 2nd Lt. Spenser Rapone, a soldier more openly socialist than Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, who found out that the proletariat does not always triumph.


Rapone first gained national attention last September, when a picture of him at West Point with a sign that reads “Communism Will Win” tucked into his cap went viral. Soon afterward, Rapone posted a second picture of him wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt underneath his uniform. (Che became Fidel Castro’s chief executioner after Cuba’s 1959 revolution. When he was killed eight years later in Bolivia, his hands were cut off and preserved in formaldehyde to prove he was dead.)

West Point quickly announced that Rapone’s chain of command was “aware of his actions and is looking into the matter,” and the Academy subsequently took fire for not disciplining the soldier, even though he’d already graduated and was assigned to Ft. Drum when the pictures surfaced.

Recently, the Army announced that Rapone was disciplined, but the service did not say how.

“Due to privacy act restrictions, we are limited in what information we can provide,” Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Nina Hill told reporters in a June 12 email. “We can confirm, however, that the Army conducted a full investigation, and that appropriate action was taken. We now consider the matter closed."

On June 18, Che Rapone tweeted a picture of himself giving the middle finger to Fort Drum with the message:  “One final salute #FTA.” Since “FTA” probably does not stand for “Freight Transport Association,” it seems likely that Rapone has been recalled to the motherland for reeducation. The Army would not say if Rapone is still a soldier.

Citing the “privacy act restrictions,” Hill said she was unable to tell T&P; what exactly the investigation looked into, what type of action was taken against Rapone, and what his current rank is. T&P; has been unable to confirm unsourced media reports that claim Rapone has received an other than honorable discharge.

Attempts to reach Rapone were failures – much like the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and Air America radio. T&P; tried tweeting to Rapone — whose twitter handle is @punkproletarian – but the Marxist devotee did not respond.

Many of you are no doubt surprised to learn that a reporter was unable to get in touch with a communist. Sure, this reporter may or may not occasionally crank up the Red Army Choir while on deadline, but the days of reporters being active commie stooges ended when Walter Duranty stopped writing for the New York Times.

It is unclear if Sen. Marco Rubio’s Oct. 3, 2017, letter to the acting Army secretarydemanding that Rapone’s commission be revoked had any bearing on whatever action the Army ultimately took.

“Posts on social media by Rapone broadcast his devotion to the communist cause and his plans to infiltrate and sabotage the military,” the Florida Republican wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Army Times.

A spokeswoman for Rubio did not respond to T&P;’s request for comment by deadline. The Red Army had better luck in Afghanistan than this reporter did finding people to actually talk for this story.

Like Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys in “The Americans,” your friendly Pentagon correspondent will continue to try to ferret out the details on this issue. Until then, please enjoy this joke, which was popular in the Soviet Union during Stalin:

    Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

It’s the NKVD. You are under arrest. You are about to be sent to a gulag in Siberia.

Nooooo!

Just kidding. We’ll shoot you first.

Thank God!

WATCH NEXT:

Jeff Schogol covers the Pentagon for Task & Purpose. He has covered the military for 12 years and embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq and Haiti. Prior to joining T&P;, he covered the Marine Corps and Air Force at Military Times. Comments or thoughts to share? Send them to Jeff Schogol via email at schogol@taskandpurpose.com or direct message @JeffSchogol on Twitter.

US Marine Corps

The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.

"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'

"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"

Read More Show Less

At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.

A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.

Read More Show Less

In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."

A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.

In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.

In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.

A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.

The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.

Read More Show Less