Spenser Rapone is NOT Army Strong
Spenser Rapone is NOT Army Strong
Not everything that happens revolves around the protests the NFL and its players are currently staging. That is especially true when it comes to Spenser Rapone. Don’t let the media fool you on this. No matter how hard they try to twist the facts to make it seem like his actions in posting what are, at the very least, questionable photographs and, at the worst, violations of the rules regarding the behavior and actions of Army officers, they are wrong. His actions go much further than protesting for equal treatment of minorities in this country. His actions have little, if anything, to do with supporting Colin Kaepernick. His actions undermine not only his role as an Army officer but they also cast doubt on not only the Army but the military as a whole, especially the military academies. How can someone who professes to support ideals that are contra to the foundation of our country be trusted to protect and defend it and its citizens? How can someone who so glibly posts photographs of himself he knows are violations of his oaths be trusted to uphold other oaths, to his fellow soldiers, to his senior officers and to the nation?
I, _____, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God. (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)
This is the oath every officer in the United States Army takes. It is the oath Second Lieutenant Spenser Rapone took upon his graduation from the United States Military Academy. It is an oath he was familiar with as It is also the oath he has willfully, perhaps gleefully spat upon with his social media activity both while attending West Point and after.
In case you aren’t familiar with Rapone, he completed Airborne school at Fort Benning. Then he finished the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program before being assigned to the the 1st Ranger Battalion. Afterwards, he deployed overseas and saw combat. Then he entered the United States Military Academy where he graduated last here. Here’s a picture of him that day. Doesn’t it make you proud to know he will be serving in the Army, protecting America and all she stands for?
Yes, that’s a Che Guevara tee shirt he’s wearing under his uniform. If the picture isn’t damning enough, his comment on the Tweet is. It’s a quote from Che. Yes, that’s right. A young man who enlisted in the army, saw action and then entered and later graduated from the United States Military Academy is quoting Che at us. Che, the Marxist revolutionary. Che, who stood for everything the United States has fought against. Yes, that Che.
Think about it. This is what Rapone took pride in instead of this:
But it gets better. In another photo, also taken on his graduation day, Rapone holds his cover, revealing a handwritten note on the inside. “Communism will win.” He gives a half-hearted raised fist ala countless protestors and revolutionaries. What is interesting about the latter is how careful he is not to fully raise his fist. Could it be he was a bit worried about what his fellow graduates would do?
These aren’t the only examples of where Rapone’s true allegiance lies. In another photo, he is shown proudly posing with a copy of the Communist Manifesto. According to the Daily Caller, Rapone’s bio says he is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. The Daily Caller goes on to quote some of his tweets. Here’s just one. He complained that the military as such “reifies capitalism/imperialism with a brutally hierarchical rank structure” and said that his fellow service members “lust for war and conflict. They fetishize violence.”
And this is someone who somehow managed to not only gain entry into West Point but graduate.
When news of Rapone’s actions, not to mention his pictures, hit the news, it didn’t take long for the outcry to sound. Newsweek might buy into the excuse that Rapone is merely showing solidarity with Colin Kaepernick because of the # VeteransForKaepernick he attached to the tweet of the picture, but that I find it hard to believe. That picture was taken months ago. This was a conscious decision by Rapone to tweet a picture he knew not only violated the code of conduct he pledged to as a cadet but it also, from my understanding of the various provisions of the Code of Military Conduct and other applicable laws and regulations, violated oaths he took as an officer. (For more on what an officer can and cannot do when it comes to political activity, check out this article.)
His actions have also forced the Department of Defense and West Point to issue the following statement:
I am the proud mother of a member of the United States Air Force. When I look at Rapone’s pictures, when I read his tweets, I don’t just feel sick. I feel angry and I feel scared. This man, and I use that term loosely, is putting his own feelings and desires above the oaths he took. He shouldn’t be in the military. The thought of others relying on him to watch their backs in a fight against those whose ideologies he agrees with frightens me. Not for Rapone, but for those men and women who need to trust him in a firefight. But how can they? How can we?
It will be interesting to see how the Department of Defense and, more specifically, the Army respond to what he’s done. As we watch and wait, it is important to remember one thing. Those pictures may have been taken before he raised his hand and took the officer’s oath but he chose to post them months later. If that doesn’t speak volumes, I don’t know what does.