An Army officer making waves across social media, posing in uniform endorsing communism while making political statements, was kicked out of a special operations unit as an enlisted soldier, USAWTFM has learned.
2nd Lt. Spenser Rapone, 25, a 2016 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, has captured headlines and drawn the ire of the military and veteran communities after photos emerged online of a tweet of his, posted under the username “Commie Bebop,” depicted him raising a clenched fist while holding his West Point cap with the message “communism will win” written on the inside.
Rapone previously served as an enlisted infantryman before enrolling at West Point in 2012. He completed the Ranger Assessment and Selection Process, and received an assignment to A Co., 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He lasted roughly 6 months before leaving the unit under a process known as “released for standards,” commonly referred to as being “RFSed.”
As a U.S. Army Special Operations Command unit, the Ranger regiment maintains more stringent standards for their personnel. If at any point a leader considers a Ranger has not met a standard, he can relieve the soldier from duty and have him removed from the unit, in short, “RFSed.”
A Ranger can be RFS’d for virtually any reason, ranging from lack of motivation to disciplinary problems.
USAWTFM spoke under the condition of anonymity with four sources, all of whom requested their names not be used because they are not authorized to speak on the record regarding members of special operations forces. They all painted a vivid story of Rapone’s stint with the unit, commenting on his lack of discipline, carelessness, and disrespect for authority figures.
“He could perform to standards but he had discipline problems,” a former member of his platoon told USAWTFM, adding “he was careless, with little things and sometimes big things, he almost took 6 guys out while mishandling the Gus.”
“The Gus” refers to the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle, an antitank weapon in common use within U.S. Army infantry units and the special operations community.
Sources told USAWTFM that the final end to Rapone’s Ranger career came after an incident of insubordination that, taken in concert with his history of indiscipline and low standards, led to his “RFS.”
Rapone’s initial tweet was posted in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick action to kneel in protest during the National Anthem, and was tagged with thehashtag “#VeteransForKaepernic.” A second tweet was posted shortly after with him wearing a t-shiort with a picture of Communist icon Che Guevara on it, with the text “In case there was any lingering doubt, hasta la victoria siempre,” referencing the term made famous by Che Guevara “Until victory, always.”
His tweets also included complaints about the military, and how it “reifies capitalism/imperialism with a brutally hierarchical rank structure” and that soldiers “lust for war and conflict. They fetishize violence.”
@ByYourLogic Was so pumped for you to go in on Mattis on the latest ep. Definitely the most vile, evil fuck in the current administration
— Commie Bebop? (@punkproletarian) June 8, 2017
Holy shit what world do these people live in? “Mediocre and conservative?” Pence is a fucking medieval, cold-blooded killer
— Commie Bebop? (@punkproletarian) August 19, 2017
As the photos of Rapone’s tweets came to the public eye, reaction was swift, with a number of veterans organizations condemning the act of political speech by a serving officer, an act technically illegal under military law. Just as stunning was the swift rebuke that came from Rapone’s alma mater, West Point, in the statement they released on September 26.
“The U.S. Military Academy strives to develop leaders who internalize the academy’s motto of Duty, Honor, Country, and who live the Army values,” the academy said in a written statement posted to their website. “Second Lieutenant Rapone’s actions in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army.”
The academy went on to say it would cooperate fully in any subsequent investigations.
Rapone is assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY. Army officials there say he is under investigation for the tweets.