By Eric Dehm
Army 2nd Lt. Spenser Rapone is an infantry officer currently assigned to 10th Mountain Division based out of Fort Drum, NY. He is also a graduate of the US Military Academy and a former member of the Army’s storied 1st Ranger Battalion, earning the Combat Infantryman Badge during a deployment to Afghanistan.
He is, apparently, a communist too.
His beliefs alone are not illegal, but his alleged actions posted to his personal social media accounts may be in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and DoD regulations.
Rapone’s twitter account first came under scrutiny after he tweeted a picture of himself with “communism will win” written inside of his cadet cover, while also giving a closed-fist salute with the hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick.
The post is one of many political statements made by Rapone over social media under the handle @punkproletarian. Another photo that has garnered media attention features Rapone wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt under his cadet uniform on the West Point campus.
In addition to those photos, Rapone’s posts mostly seem to focus on his support of communism, specifically, the brand seen in the Soviet Union, with the hammer and sickle symbol and USSR flag both featuring heavily, including on the profile’s header image.
Supporting a political ideology while in the service is, of course, not prohibited and it could be argued that those two photos amount to little more than uniform violations. Some of Rapone’s other social media activity, on the other hand, would seem to far more seriously violate official DoD regulations on political activity.
This photo Rapone posted of his Democratic Socialists of America “official socialist organizer” ID card alongside his uniform is seemingly in clear violation of those regs, which state service members shall not serve in an official capacity with any partisan political organization.
Also found on Rapone’s Twitter account is what appears to be a section from a book that seems to be calling for communist revolution within the US military and encouraging soldiers to “confront their own institution.”
A statement posted Wednesday morning by 10th Mountain Division, 2nd Brigade Combat Team’s Facebook page originally included in this article has since been removed. However, West Point has released a statement regarding Rapone’s posts after they went viral, that reads in part:
“As figures of public trust, members of the military must exhibit exemplary conduct, and are
prohibited from engaging in certain expressions of political speech in uniform. Second
Lieutenant Rapone’s chain of command is aware of his actions and is looking into the matter.
The academy is prepared to assist the officer’s chain of command as required.”
What, if any, punishment Rapone will face is as of yet unkown.
This story is developing and ConnectingVets.com will follow on with any additional information as it becomes available.