The saga of the commie West Point graduate took a rather strange twist yesterday when the officer who achieved a degree of fame for his scorching sworn statement about then-Cadet Spenser, with an ‘s,’ Rapone’s epic insubordination and disrespect, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Robert Heffington released a letter calling into question what is actually being instilled in young men and women at West Point.

The background.

Only a couple of weeks ago, young Rapone burst upon social media in a couple of tweeted photos. Both of them show him in cadet uniform. In on, he’s wearing a Che Guevara shirt underneath his tunic. I the other he has a “communism will win” written on a piece of paper inside his hat.

This is not good.

Then it was revealed he had denigrated Vice President Pence and Secretary of Defense Mattis as well:

Shortly afterwards, a sworn statement by the aforementioned LTC Heffington appeared. If even partially true it is a stunning indictment of the US Military Academy’s chain of command. Now he has provided a more detailed indictment.

First and foremost, standards at West Point are nonexistent. They exist on paper, but nowhere else. The senior administration at West Point inexplicably refuses to enforce West Point’s publicly touted high standards on cadets, and, having picked up on this, cadets refuse to enforce standards on each other. The Superintendent refuses to enforce admissions standards or the cadet Honor Code, the Dean refuses to enforce academic standards, and the Commandant refuses to enforce standards of conduct and discipline. The end result is a sort of malaise that pervades the entire institution. Nothing matters anymore. Cadets know this, and it has given rise to a level of cadet arrogance and entitlement the likes of which West Point has never seen in its history.

Every fall, the Superintendent addresses the staff and faculty and lies. He repeatedly states that “We are going to have winning sports teams without compromising our standards,” and everyone in Robinson Auditorium knows he is lying because we routinely admit athletes with ACT scores in the mid-teens across the board. I have personally taught cadets who are borderline illiterate and cannot read simple passages from the assigned textbooks. It is disheartening when the institution’s most senior leader openly lies to his own faculty-and they all know it.

The cadet honor code has become a laughingstock… Just recently a cadet openly and obviously plagiarized his History research paper, and his civilian professor reported it. The evidence was overwhelming-there was not the slightest question of his guilt, yet the cadet was not found. The professor, and indeed all the faculty who knew of the case, were completely demoralized. This is the new norm for the cadet honor system. In fact, there is now an addition to the honor system (the Willful Admission Process) which essentially guarantees that if a cadet admits a violation, then separation is not even a possibility…

Academic standards are also nonexistent…Cadets routinely fail multiple classes and they are not separated at the end-of-semester Academic Boards. Their professors recommend “Definitely Separate,” but those recommendations are totally disregarded. I recently taught a cadet who failed four classes in one semester (including mine), in addition to several she had failed in previous semesters, and she was retained at the Academy….

Even the curriculum itself has suffered. The plebe American History course has been revamped to focus completely on race and on the narrative that America is founded solely on a history of racial oppression. Cadets derisively call it the “I Hate America Course.” Simultaneously, the plebe International History course now focuses on gender to the exclusion of many other important themes. On the other hand, an entire semester of military history was recently deleted from the curriculum (at West Point!)…

Conduct and disciplinary standards are in perhaps the worst shape of all. Cadets are jaded, cynical, arrogant, and entitled. They routinely talk back to and snap at their instructors (military and civilian alike), challenge authority, and openly refuse to follow regulations…

This brings me to the case of now-2LT Spenser Rapone. It is not at all surprising that the Academy turned a blind eye to his behavior and to his very public hatred of West Point, the Army, and this nation. I knew at the time I wrote that sworn statement in 2015 that he would go on to graduate. It is not so much that West Point’s leadership defends his views (Prof. Hosein did, however); it is 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. They are so reticent to separate problematic cadets (undoubtedly due to the “developmental model” that now exists at USMA) that someone like Rapone can easily slip through the cracks. In other words, West Point’s leaders choose the easier wrong over the harder right.

You really need to read the whole letter.

I’m not qualified to judge Heffington’s letter. There is an feeling that a lot of axe’s are being ground here. Be that as it may, if even a fraction of Heffington’s allegations are true, then something is definitely wrong at West Point. Some of the allegations can be substantiated in a matter of hours. What are the average ACT scores of all of West Points varsity athletes? How many failing grades are awarded each semester? How many cadets flunk out? How many honor code violations are alleged and proven each semster? In Heffington’s favor, we know for a fact that Spenser, with an ‘s,’ Rapone did, in fact, graduate from and was commissioned by the US Military Academy. So something is clearly broken.

This whole brouhaha has caught the attention of Defense or Army leadership:

On Wednesday, West Point superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen responded to the outrage in a letter addressed to the men and women of the U.S. Military Academy.

“I ask that you help me prevent the negativity associated with the alleged behavior of one graduate from causing us to lose sight of the thousands of graduates who sacrifice and serve honorably every day,” he wrote.

Second Lt. Spenser Rapone, who is assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, is under investigation for his subversive political views by both his unit and West Point.

USMA’s investigation is focusing on “policies and procedures as they pertain to then-Cadet Rapone’s time at USMA, and USMA’s determination of his suitability for graduation and commissioning,” Caslen wrote.

The superintendent’s letter came the same day as another letter, from a retired lieutenant colonel and former West Point professor, made its way onto the Internet. Robert Heffington accused West Point of loose standards and a lack of discipline or honor.

2nd. Lt. Spenser Rapone is under investigation after tweeting photos of himself support communism while in uniform. (Source: Twitter) 2nd. Lt. Spenser Rapone is under investigation after tweeting photos of himself support communism while in uniform. (Source: Twitter)

“I do not take these allegations lightly and will provide you a response with facts addressing his allegations and then you can judge for yourself whether our graduates are serving our Nation with character imbued with values of Duty, Honor and Country, or not,” Caslen wrote.

I am not encouraged by LTG Caslen’s response. He subtly shifts the criticism of how a) West Point let an avowed anti-American activist graduate from West Point and b) allegations of slipshod standards focused on graduating cadets at all costs to “judge for yourself whether our graduates are serving our Nation with character imbued with values of Duty, Honor and Country, or not.”
If you read the complete letter, and please take the time to do so, it reads like a clarion call to close ranks to protect the institution from dangerous outsiders no matter the cost to the nation or to the Army.