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'Commie Cadet' Booted From US Army

Spenser Rapone gets other-than-honorable discharge after West Point photos
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 19, 2018 3:42 PM CDT
'Commie Cadet' Booted From US Army
In this May 2016 photo provided by Spenser Rapone, Rapone raises his left fist while displaying a sign inside his hat that reads "Communism will win," after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY.   (Courtesy of Spenser Rapone via AP)

(Newser) – The images Spenser Rapone posted on Twitter from his West Point graduation were intentionally shocking: In one, the cadet opens his dress uniform to expose a T-shirt with a blood-red image of socialist icon Che Guevara. In another, he raises his fist and flips his cap to reveal the message: "Communism will win." Less than a year after Rapone's images drew a firestorm of vitriol and even death threats, the second lieutenant who became known as the "commie cadet" is officially out of the US Army with an other-than-honorable discharge, the AP reports. The Army accepted Rapone's resignation Monday after an earlier reprimand for "conduct unbecoming of an officer." Rapone said an investigation found he went online to advocate for a socialist revolution and disparage officers. Officially, the Army said only that "appropriate action was taken."

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An unrepentant Rapone summed up the fallout in yet another tweet Monday that showed him extending a middle finger at a sign at the entrance to Fort Drum, accompanied by the words, "One final salute." "I consider myself a revolutionary socialist," the 26-year-old Rapone told the AP. "I would encourage all soldiers who have a conscience to lay down their arms and join me and so many others who are willing to stop serving the agents of imperialism and join us in a revolutionary movement." Rapone said his journey to communism grew out of his experiences as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan ("We were bullies in one of the poorest countries on Earth") before he was accepted into the US Military Academy. And those views only hardened during his studies of history as one of the academy's "Long Gray Line."

(Read more West Point stories.)

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