Report: West Point Professor Found Communist Officer's Social Media Posts 'Extremely Disturbing'

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A Fort Drum officer whose pro-communist and anti-Trump social media posts have spurred outrage and an Army investigation apparently raised concerns among his superiors in 2015 while studying at West Point.


In documents obtained by the Daily Caller, Lt. Col. Robert M. Heffington, a professor at West Point, said he found the social media posts by 2nd Lt. Spenser Rapone, then a cadet, “extremely disturbing.” He noted at the time that one of Rapone’s posts said “(Expletive) this country and its fake freedom,” and others praised communism, Marxism and Karl Marx.

“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,” the lieutenant colonel said in a sworn 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.”

Lt. Rapone is currently under investigation by post officials, and his social media posts, including those made while wearing his West Point uniform, were condemned by the academy.

Col. Heffington’s statement from November 2015 also said Lt. Rapone showed “extreme disrespect” to him when confronted about the volume of a conversation he had with a professor and refused corrections on standards like getting a haircut.

Heffington Sworn Statement 18 Nov 2015 Signed (2) by Paul Conner on Scribd

“His utter contempt for my rank and position as an Army officer was blatantly obvious and, to me, it indicates that CDT Rapone has a serious problem with military authority figures.”

He later said Rapone’s social media posts at best “reveal the philosophical infatuations of a precocious adolescent,” and at worst “a severe mental or psychological disorder” or values “at odds” with West Point and the Army.

“He may at some point grow out of this phase, but the Army does not have the luxury of allowing him the opportunity to sort out his beliefs while charged with the sacred duty of leading American Soldiers,” Col. Heffington said.

Lt. Rapone, a member of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, first drew attention when he tweeted an image from his Twitter account, @punkproletarian, with “Communism Will Win” written into his West Point cadet hat.

Other online statements by the lieutenant criticized President Trump and members of his administration.

If taken to a court martial, Lt. Rapone could face confinement for violating multiple parts of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio called for Lt. Rapone’s dismissal, a call backed by Rep. Elise M. Stefanik.

The full Daily Caller report can be found at http://wdt.me/westpoint-rapone.

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©2017 Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, N.Y.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo via Spenser Rapone/Twitter
Ryan Kules

Editor's note: A combat wounded veteran, Ryan served in the U.S. Army as an armor officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 13th Armor Regiment. While deployed to Iraq in 2005, his vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device buried in the road. He works as the Wounded Warrior Project's national Combat Stress Recovery Program director.

On Nov. 29, 2005, my life changed forever. I was a 24-year-old U.S. Army armor captain deployed to Taji, Iraq, when my vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. On that day, I lost two of my soldiers, Sgts. Jerry Mills and Donald Hasse, and I lost my right arm and left leg.

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