The retired three-star general, who commanded Delta Force and supervised the mission to take down Columbian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, told Big League Politics radical West Point graduate 2nd Lt. Spencer Rapone is a disgrace to his school and the Army.
“This is a black mark on West Point, because how did a guy like that make it through to West Point espousing his attitude in our Constitution?” said retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, who was part of the first generation of Delta Force officers and later the unit’s commander.
Rapone made a series of social media posts critical of American democracy and in an Aug. 16 essay “The Confederate Collaboration of West Point” posted on Medium.com he accused West Point celebrating the defenders of slavery.
Also among his posts were photos of the 2016 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. in his cadet uniform exposing a Che Guevera tee-shirt underneath his uniform blouse. Guevera was a Marxist revolutionary, who fought with Fidel Castro to install that island’s communist regime.
“This is a failure of leadership at West Point including every position,” said the retired commando, who now serves as the executive vice president of the Washinton-based Family Research Council.
Boykin said West Point’s failure to catch up with Rapone stems from President Barack Obama’s tenure as commander-in-chief.
“West Point is an honorable institution of higher education; however, the leadership is frightened of everything about the Marxist movement, and for eight years people were chosen for leaders who would support radicalization and political sensitivity,” he said.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Evan H. Wollen, who taught history at West Point, as well as serving as a military science professor at Claremont-McKenna College in Claremont, California said he was disturbed by that the cadet’s behavior escaped the notice of West Point’s faculty and leadership.
“It is extremely unusual for a person with such views (a) wanting to be a commissioned officer in the US Army and then (b) being able to hide his views during the West Point selection and training process,” Wollen said.
Boykin said he did not understand why no one in the USMA leadership was aware of Rapone’s feelings about the country and system of government he was being trained to defend.
“Common sense is that if he is as anti-American as his postings show, that was reflected in his attitude and behavior in front of his superiors, and it appears West Point ignored his behavior and attitude,” said the general, whose Delta Force career began at the time of Delta Force’s ill-fated 1980 attempt to free the American hostages in Iran.
“Rapone does not represent the beliefs of the U.S. military in any way,” said the graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, also called Virginia Tech. “We are there to win wars, not spare feelings–show me where communism has ever won?”
West Point issued a Sept. 26 statement distancing the school from Rapone’s sentiments.
“Rapone’s actions in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army. 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,” the statement said.
The school also said it would participate in the inquest now being carried out by the officer’s chain of command. “The academy is prepared to assist the officer’s chain of command as required.”
Rapone is assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.
The public affairs office for the 10th Mountain Division declined to comment to BLP.