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  #441  
Old 12 October 2017, 13:04
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Decent piece from 2OCT written by Kurt Schlichter, who served in the Army both active and reserved for 28 years.

townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2017/10/02/draft-n2389301


Quote:
And we have now reached the pinnacle of the military’s moral bankruptcy with the revelation that one Second Lieutenant Spenser Rapone is a communist. Not like a wannabe communist, not like a routine college-years liberal dummy, but a full-on, dictatorship-of-the-proletariat communist.

While at West Point.

Yeah, and the Academy knew. The chain of command knew what this guy was, because he told them (Army alumni have done the job the MSM, which probably sympathizes with this idiot, has failed to do, digging up plenty about him and putting it out on social media). But the Academy let this creep slide through anyway.

They let a guy who unequivocally stated his hatred for this country get a security clearance. (Sound familiar? The Air Force’s Worst Airperson of the Century Reality Winner, anyone?) Then they gave Rapone a commission as a United States Army officer. And they did it knowing who he was, because in the leftist-loving environment Obama created, they were terrified to throw the bum out on his Marx.

Hell, he felt comfortable enough to post this all on social media, and the Army chain of command didn’t act until we outside the military made a stink and it had to do something.
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  #442  
Old 12 October 2017, 13:27
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Hell, he felt comfortable enough to post this all on social media, and the Army chain of command didn’t act until we outside the military made a stink and it had to do something
Kurt Schlichter may make a good point, but I have to respond to his statement with this simple question....

...if the Army didn't act until we outside the military made a stink, exactly what has the Army done about it?

Nothing so far.
At all.

An administrator has responded by releasing a statement that basically says, "nuh uh, we believe in duty honor country"

blah blah blah...
not even a public hand slap

President Clinton sodomized a subordinate and within a matter of days there was talk of an Army values card...
...this shit bag lieutenant has been an openly acknowledged shit-sandwich for half a decade and has had zero consequence.

To the casual outside observer, there is very little honor surrounding this institution
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  #443  
Old 12 October 2017, 17:00
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Originally Posted by Box View Post
To the casual outside observer, there is very little honor surrounding this institution
Which institution?
West Point?
The Army?
America?
Not sure where you're aiming that ....
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  #444  
Old 12 October 2017, 17:50
Steve40th Steve40th is offline
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The US, in General , is losing control. Hate, Divide, lack of discipline with kids, lowering standards etc etc. Its our job to start fixing this crap. Integrity, Accountability to start
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  #445  
Old 12 October 2017, 19:08
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The US, in General , is losing control. Hate, Divide, lack of discipline with kids, lowering standards etc etc. Its our job to start fixing this crap. Integrity, Accountability to start
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  #446  
Old 12 October 2017, 19:21
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Stanley_White Stanley_White is offline
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A Cadet's point of view.

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Quote:

https://medium.com/@Doctrine_Man/a-cadets-perspective-1e22bc551989

You’ve undoubtedly heard much about “The Point” in the media recently, with much of that news negative. First, the world was introduced to a former cadet, Spencer Rapone, whose images and anti-American rantings on social media ignited a firestorm of controversy. In short order, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Heffington, a former history instructor at West Point, released a sworn statement documenting a bitter encounter with Rapone from 2015. This week, Colonel Heffington followed that statement with an “open letter” to West Point graduates, in which he levied a stinging series of accusations against the Superintendent, staff, and faculty of the institution.

Unfortunately, I can’t really provide any personal context or commentary behind the actions of Spencer Rapone; he was a “Firstie” in another regiment during my Plebe year and we had no interaction. His social media activity, however, is both disconcerting and disturbing. Regardless of his military status, the fact that he finds it necessary to blatantly violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice is another issue entirely. I’ve heard rumors of current instructors substantiating Colonel Heffington’s assertions from his sworn statement; from Rapone’s demonstrated online behavior, it’s probably not much of a stretch to assume that he was openly disrespectful to instructors. Beyond the fact that no one here who remembers Rapone seems to have a positive opinion of him, I can add nothing to that discussion.

However, I have mixed feelings about Colonel Heffington’s open letter to the “Old Grads.” A good deal of what he wrote is not necessarily untrue, but several of his accusations rely on information to which he was not privy on a regular basis. As I sit with his letter before me, I want to address some of those accusations and provide context from my perspective as a cadet.

“…2LT Spencer Rapone — an avowed Communist and enemy of the United States…”

Honestly, I think this is a somewhat “over the top” statement. I understand that Rapone is a “card-holding member” of whatever analog to the Communist Party exists in our country, but I think that we forget that he also deployed in support of military operations, and (so far as we know) has not acted to sabotage those operations. Not to minimize his actions on social media, but I’m not sure that the “Better Dead than Red” mentality is a good enough reason to declare him “an enemy of the United States.” Derelict in his duties? Probably. But saying he is an enemy of the state is a bit much, I think. But, that’s only my opinion.

“…standards at West Point are nonexistent.”

I completely disagree with this statement. Below a certain Grade Point Average, cadets lose all privileges. Period. Civilian clothes, passes, trip sections, sometimes even Spring Break. Fail to pass your Indoor Obstacle Course Test? Same deal. Hell, even the classic Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) standards are not enough. APFTs are evaluated for a letter grade: if I’m not mistaken, 180 is a “D” while a perfect score of 300 only earns a cadet an “A-”. If you want an “A”, you need to “superscore” the test. If cadets fail to meet the physical minimums set for their class, they lose all privileges and are placed on remedial workouts until meeting these requirements. And, just to maintain privileges as a Firstie, you need to score a minimum of 250 on the APFT.

I could continue with a point-by-point rebuttal of the accusations made in this paragraph, but it’s fair to say the majority of his sweeping assertions are not supported by facts. I will say that our current Commandant most certainly enforces the standards. He has been known to bring in a cadet’s entire chain of command, to include the TAC team and instructors, to explain why a particular cadet failed to shave that day. The standards not only exist, they are routinely enforced.

“Every fall, the Superintendent addresses the staff and faculty and lies.”

Again, I can’t speak with authority on the admissions process, so please take everything I say with a proverbial “grain of salt.” I am unsure as to what role a three-star general assumes in admitting individual cadets to this institution; Admissions is led by a colonel with a number of field grade officers operating in support. With respect to the assertion concerning sub-par standardized test scores (for example, the ACT), I am led to believe that the academy believes in the “whole-person” concept and cares about more than simply academic endeavors. If West Point admits someone with scores in those ranges, there are other accomplishments in consideration (preparatory school, etc.) that assures the admissions team that the prospective cadet can meet the academic standards.

I would very much like to meet the cadet Colonel Heffington refers to as “illiterate.” Often, the textbooks we use are “custom made” and riddled with small errors that may make them difficult to read. To infer that there are people here so dumb they are unable to read is a fanciful notion that, in my opinion, contradicts his claim that his comments come from a place of “intense devotion and loyalty.”

“The Cadet Honor Code has become a laughingstock.”

Absolutely not. I think there is a misconception here that the Honor Code is a tool used to separate cadets with character flaws at odds with the code itself. The level to which we are expected to cite academic documents is the stuff of legend here. If we forget a source used in a cited work, we are subject to an Honor Board, one of the penalties of which is separation from the Academy. Obviously, if cadet is so morally odious, the Honor Code should be used as a separation metric, though that is usually not the case. Ultimately, dadet perception of the Honor code is at complete odds with the picture painted by Colonel Heffington in his letter.

Every year, we hear about cadets unsure of their graduation status because their case is being decided by the Superintendent the day of graduation. It’s not uncommon for a cadet to learn on graduation day that an Honor Code violation is preventing them from graduating with their class. The Superintendent has to weigh the merits of someone who, if part of an ROTC program not subject to the same rigid Honor Code, might be a good officer, otherwise. This is not to say that a cadet shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions, but there is a reason we have certain event-specific punishments that allow someone to “dig themselves out of a hole.”

“Academic standards are nonexistent.”

The main point of Colonel Heffington’s argument is that the Academic Board process is flawed and doesn’t typically result in the separation of cadets who routinely fail classes. I can attest to the fact that the current Dean’s policy is to separate cadets who fail the same class more than once. I have witnessed this with many cadets, so I am not entirely sure of the basis for his assertion. If a cadet fails different classes, each only a single time, their case still goes before the Academic Board for review, after which the board submits a recommendation to the Dean’s office. It’s worth noting that the Academic Board is not usually capable of seeing the whole picture when it comes to the individual life of a cadet, so the final decision falls on someone with legal authority. Separating a cadet is not a simple matter; many people are invested in the success of every cadet here, and because someone is having a rough year academically is not reason enough to separate them. In the end, however, the insinuation that cadets can simply fail until they pass is simply untrue.

“Curriculum has suffered”

On this point, I have very little to contest Colonel Heffington’s statement; this is his department. I think his deep personal passion in this area is evident and, as such, might be somewhat overstated. During my time at West Point, I took U.S. History and, while I might not have received the greatest grade in that class, I certainly did not come away thinking it was framed to be anti-American. Likewise, I took a class in international history class focused on a region of the world related to my assigned language. Latin American history taught me about the volatile nature of governments in South America between the 17th and 20th centuries, but I don’t remember learning anything about gender and have absolutely no idea what Colonel Heffington might have been referencing.

As far as removing a semester of military history, the faculty replaced a 19th century military history course with one more focused on modern conflict to accommodate the supplementary engineering tracks non-engineering majors take. History majors are still required to take both courses. Personally, I like this. I still get my World War II fix, but also get to learn about Nuclear Engineering and Chemistry. I don’t think I’m suffering all that much, considering that we still have dedicated military science courses and summer field training pretty much every year.

“Conduct and discipline are in the worst shape of all”

Boy howdy, is this one a doozy. I am unsure of the cadets with whom Colonel Heffington interacted to leave him with such a strong negative opinion on the current state of the institution. I have NEVER seen a cadet snap or interact unprofessionally with an instructor, to the extent he describes in his letter. To offer some perspective on the issue of civilian clothes, we currently DO enforce the requirement that 4th class cadets leave in the prescribed duty uniform, as outlined in policy. It’s not a huge infraction, but it’s punished accordingly, typically with a negative counseling for a first-time offense. Sometimes — as was the case my Plebe year — this policy is adjusted to account for security concerns, such as large numbers of cadets gathering in highly public places like New York City.

In the case of cadets wearing civilian clothes in the barracks or around post, we have specific policies that address who is authorized to wear what type of clothing, and where. If the Firstie mentioned by Colonel Heffington was in the state he described in his letter, I have no doubt that he would be punished via his TAC team. But, if he was within his privileges as a Firstie, Colonel Heffington would very much be in the wrong. First- and Second-Class cadets (Seniors and Juniors) do not need to observe Evening Study Period and have extra privileges with respect to the wear civilian clothes. While Old Grads who did not enjoy these privileges might be upset to read this, it is authorized. I’m not surprised that the Brigade Tactical Officer (a colonel) would address this with directly with Colonel Heffington; there are often “differences” in expectations between officers working under the Dean and those working for the Commandant. The officers serving under the Commandant exercise command authority over cadets, which is why they have the final word when it comes to administering punishments (something they are not afraid to do).

“Senior leaders are intimidated by cadets”

I am not exactly sure who Colonel Heffington defines as a “senior leader,” but I can assure you that the Commandant (a brigadier general) is not at all afraid of cadets. Honestly, I am not sure if he has any fears at all. He routinely spot checks cadets and, sometimes, entire companies, to ensure they are doing the “right thing.” In my time at West Point, I have never had the impression that any officer is afraid to correct a cadet, much less a senior field grade officer. The same can be said of the non-commissioned officers assigned here. They very much are fearless when it comes to making corrections.

If you want my honest assessment of Colonel Heffington’s letter, here it is: as a cadet, I disagree with most of it. I think that, as a whole, he is upset with the administration and is using his newfound platform to voice his opinion in hopes of incite some change in the direction he sees as necessary. Much of what he writes can be attributed to the fact that personnel assigned to academic roles are often oblivious to cadet life outside the classroom. Teachers have subjects they need to teach, and shouldn’t be bothered with an OPORD of an upcoming weekend training operation. I doubt that Colonel Heffington, even at his rank within the academic department, was privy to all of the cadet-specific information regularly put out by the Brigade Tactical Department and the Commandant’s Office. I don’t disagree that oversight of cadet personal conduct is necessary, and actions need to be taken to ensure that the behavior of a cadet (along the lines of Spencer Rapone) should be corrected before it escalates to the level we’re seeing today. But, to portray this as a systemic issue is a stretch. While many of the cadets with whom I’ve spoken agree with some portions of Colonel Heffington’s letter, most can’t shake the fact that it reads like an Old Grad’s “The Corps Has” ramblings.

On a personal level, I think that Colonel Heffington’s letter further exacerbates an already sensitive situation by striking at the credibility of West Point in a way that can’t be addressed to any meaningful degree. His status as a graduate and former professor elevate his opinion above most others, which only amplifies the negative repercussions. Colonel Heffington undoubtedly contributed a great deal to our Army and our nation, and is deserving of his retirement and his opinion. Despite this, I feel compelled to say that I disagree with the majority of his letter.
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  #447  
Old 12 October 2017, 19:28
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KimberChick KimberChick is offline
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Good read, thanks.
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  #448  
Old 12 October 2017, 20:07
DirtyDog0311 DirtyDog0311 is offline
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Interesting read, but IMO, his first assumption where he labeled the Col's statements as over the top and grandiose simply demonstrates that he is still a child and really honestly does not understand the enemy. Very likely, he thinks "the enemy are the terrorists". I would almost put money on the fact that he wasn't even wiping his own butt on 9/11. So he's only known the "new" world. Not the "real" world.

The rest of it suffers from the same point that he levies at the Col. The Colonel is making accusations based on how it is now vs how it was. He has information on both. The child only has current info. He is thus completely unable to refute really any charges the Col lays out because he has absolutely no perspective in things ---- as he has demonstrated in his first point.

He sounds like a butt-kissing 'gunner' (we all know the type) that is trying to get some good boy points scored with faculty that may help his future career. I have no way of knowing this for sure, but that write-up smells just god-awfully similar to the little pathetic ass-kissers I knew when I was at A&M's Corps of Cadets.

Edit to add: Oh, and it was posted to a website that has the below on it's front page. I'm sure an imminent crackdown on a subverted institution would be something the left would want to prevent at all costs. They worked hard to get in there. They're not going to just sit back and let all that work be for naught.
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  #449  
Old 12 October 2017, 21:23
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DD, please note that the "child" to whom you are referring is a Cadet at the United States Military Academy. While not yet a commissioned officer of the Army, he does deserve more credit than to be called a child by you.

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  #450  
Old 12 October 2017, 21:45
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Originally Posted by KimberChick View Post
Good read, thanks.
+1. The letter renews my faith a bit in the polish of a USMA cadet.

I wish I could write as well.
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  #451  
Old 13 October 2017, 07:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Box View Post
President Clinton sodomized a subordinate and within a matter of days there was talk of an Army values card...
...this shit bag lieutenant has been an openly acknowledged shit-sandwich for half a decade and has had zero consequence
Don't fret...I am sure an updated card, and trinket to wear on your dog tag chain are in the works.
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  #452  
Old 13 October 2017, 08:19
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Take a half step back and look at the entire DoD. It is rife with Obama generals
and senior field grades that were being raised to be Obama generals that continue to profess his "You gotta be nice to the citizens of "The Isle of Misfit Toys". GO's that openly steal US funds, fuck subordinates and so on, letting people enlist so they can be emasculated and addicted to hormones just so they feel better about themselves. The amazingly substandard have had free reign across the .GOV and the .MIL environments for the last 8.5 years. Eight years of liberal leadership is like drinking corn liquor, it takes time to get it out of your system.
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  #453  
Old 13 October 2017, 08:52
Shark0311 Shark0311 is offline
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In many ways the cadets musings serve to enforce the perspective of Col. Heffington.

Honor code violations are meant to be cut and dry though they can be sea lawyer'd to death if the honor council so permits it. From his own words "Obviously, if cadet is so morally odious, the Honor Code should be used as a separation metric, though that is usually not the case".

You either committed a violation or you didn't. Citing source material is as easy a task as there can be and is necessary to separate original thought and lend credence to a position. Progressive discipline is not a difficult thing to administer and "morally odious" lowers the bar as far as it can go.

To me there is little reason to pick apart the rest because the standard as he sees it is made clear early on and that is the root of the problem.

Last edited by Shark0311; 13 October 2017 at 09:11.
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  #454  
Old 13 October 2017, 11:37
Jakers Jakers is offline
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This is out of my lane and I mean it with all due respect to both West Point and the cadet in question...but isn't the cadet above perpetuating the ideals that he says don't exist?

Why is someone in his position even attempting to "set the record straight" so to speak? And at the same time contradicting a man with a much wider range of experience at the institution? If that needs to be done, shouldn't that be the purview of senior officers and leaders at West Point who have a fuller grasp of the entire situation, not someone with a limited understanding due to their position and experience level?

While getting information from the people in the field is extremely important to understanding what is really happening, it seems unwise, from a non-military perspective, for a cadet to stick his head up in a very public way in a matter that can have severe repercussions for anyone associated with it.

Is the cadets lack of awareness and attempt to force his limited personal experience into a blanket cover of "everything is ok" being done for altruistic, if potentially misguided reasons? Or is this more of the "look at me" culture that pervades America right now?
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  #455  
Old 13 October 2017, 11:58
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I always stood up for my Alma Mater and I guess any student/cadet anywhere in the world would too. So I personally think the Cadet is fighting against painting anyone at his Academy with the same broad brush as Rapone. For me, it's normal and even commendable. Because for one bad apple like Mr. Rapone there's untold numbers of Cadets who are shining examples of all the virtues West Point is known for.

What's lacking though IMO is admittal that Rapone did wrong. I get the fraternity thing, but sometimes you have to admit one of your peers effed up, because bending reality won't work and not admitting the obvious slightly undermines the entire message you try to get across.

If I were his friends I'd tell him to come out clean and apologize if he can't do this on his own (which he should've done a long time ago). Everyone makes mistakes, but when you do you should man up and say: I did wrong. I apologize. And never do it again.

Last edited by Paul85; 13 October 2017 at 12:04.
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  #456  
Old 13 October 2017, 12:02
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Originally Posted by Jakers View Post
This is out of my lane and I mean it with all due respect to both West Point and the cadet in question...but isn't the cadet above perpetuating the ideals that he says don't exist?

Why is someone in his position even attempting to "set the record straight" so to speak? And at the same time contradicting a man with a much wider range of experience at the institution? If that needs to be done, shouldn't that be the purview of senior officers and leaders at West Point who have a fuller grasp of the entire situation, not someone with a limited understanding due to their position and experience level?

While getting information from the people in the field is extremely important to understanding what is really happening, it seems unwise, from a non-military perspective, for a cadet to stick his head up in a very public way in a matter that can have severe repercussions for anyone associated with it.

Is the cadets lack of awareness and attempt to force his limited personal experience into a blanket cover of "everything is ok" being done for altruistic, if potentially misguided reasons? Or is this more of the "look at me" culture that pervades America right now?
Who vs. What

It seems that people's sense of identity lies less and less in WHO they are (their character, their actions, etc) and more in WHAT they are (titles, names, etc). Because of this, people don't have the ability to call bullshit in their own profession and the like because they've attached their very identity to it.

Because they are X, an attack on X is an attack on them, therefore they'll defend X.

They are special because they do Y and Y is special. If Y really isn't all that special, then they feel like they aren't all that special, thus the need to artificially keep Y special.

A little separation and the healthy understanding that you are YOU because of YOU and not because of the "what's" and the titles would go a long way in fostering objective opinions on stuff.

He's also probably kissing a little ass too.
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  #457  
Old 13 October 2017, 12:14
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Originally Posted by Paul85 View Post
I always stood up for my Alma Mater and I guess any student/cadet anywhere in the world would too. So I personally think the Cadet is fighting against painting anyone at his Academy with the same broad brush as Rapone. For me, it's normal and even commendable. Because for one bad apple like Mr. Rapone there's untold numbers of Cadets who are shining examples of all the virtues West Point is known for.
This is how I perceived it, as a Cadet trying to correct the record. Not altruistic so-to-speak, but more out of selfish pride in his school. Which is a motive I trust more.

Some great points about motives (an what drives Honor), though ^ KS11.

Last edited by Tycon; 13 October 2017 at 12:21.
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  #458  
Old 13 October 2017, 13:19
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billdawg billdawg is offline
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Originally Posted by Paul85 View Post
Because for one bad apple like Mr. Rapone there's untold numbers of Cadets who are shining examples of all the virtues West Point is known for.

.
I don't want to speak for anyone else, but the problem I have with as a whole, not just 2Lt (then Cadet) Rapone's actions, but the action and non-actions of those around him.

-His peers had to know about him, yet nothing was said.
-His Superiors and Cadre(obviously not all, but some for sure) had to know about him, yet nothing was said.
-His 'friends' not only looked the other way, they aided and abetted him in his asshattery. (Those pics didn't take themselves).

All in all, nothing was said until somebody outside the USMA caught it on social media, and then it was a big deal. Now, folks inside the USMA are acting as if it's an anamoly and the rest of should just pipe down and they'll fix it. The problem in my mind is that it's one more sad step down the path that leads us all to no honor, no commitment, or no courage.
IMO, 2LT Repone, should receive a BCD, and be made to pay back his tuition. Any other Cadets that knew and didn't inform the CoC, need to be reprimanded too. I'm tired of society not caring about the values that are time -tested, because they 'don't want to judge or rock the boat'
Honor should still mean something, especially from those who are in an honorable profession.
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