8 years of the previous administration lowering standards and implementing social justice.
The following letter was written by retired LTC Robert M. Heffington as an open letter. Heffington was an assistant professor at West Point for several years, until this past August.
The letter has been circulating for a few days in private among the military.
Heffington confirmed to American Military News on Wednesday that he did write the letter, and he sent a signed copy.
He wrote the letter in light of recent media coverage of 2nd Lt. Spenser Rapone, a West Point graduate and infantry officer who recently came under fire for his public advocacy and support of socialism and communism, and being an “official socialist organizer” of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
The broader conversation that has been taking place in the military community now is what exactly went on – and goes on – at West Point that a graduate such as Rapone would feel so strongly empowered to apparently be a socialist and/or communist and spread these doctrines.
Heffington says the Military Academy turned a blind eye to Rapone’s behavior and his “very public hatred” of West Point. While this doesn’t mean leaders at West Point defend Rapone’s views, it means that West Point’s senior leaders “are infected with apathy: they simply do not want to deal with any problem, regardless of how grievous a violation of standards and/or discipline it may be,” Heffington writes.
Rapone was recently discovered to be a communist propagandist and “official socialist organizer” of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) after he posted a photo to Twitter of himself in support of professional football player Colin Kaepernick, where he is seen in his West Point uniform at graduation holding his cap that contains a piece of paper that says “Communism will win.”
Rapone’s social media was filled with up to hundreds of posts, messages and photos that were being circulated around the military and civilian communities. His Twitter account is now set to protected, and his Instagram account has been taken down. His Facebook, where he goes under Giuseppe Impastato, is private.
Rapone had also posted a second photo of himself in uniform, and he is seen wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt underneath his uniform jacket. Guevara was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary who believed the poor people of Latin America would be saved by communism.
Rapone is a 2LT (Second Lieutenant) and an infantry officer in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. He has deployed to Afghanistan and received a combat infantryman badge (CIB).
Rapone has been widely criticized on the internet – and so has West Point, for seemingly allowing this behavior and appearing to turn a blind eye to an apparent communist who espouses many things the U.S. Military and the United States fight against. West Point has said that Rapone’s actions “in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army.”
In Heffington’s letter, he says the most recent coverage of Rapone only highlights a “disturbing trend” that he has observed over several years of being on the faculty at West Point, which are “fundamental changes […] that have eroded it to the point where I question whether the institution should even remain open.”