Military inquiry into photo clears West Point cadets


WEST POINT – There will be no punitive action taken against 16 female
West Point cadets, members of the Class of 2016, who appeared in a photograph
taken in April with raised fists. An inquiry conducted at the military
academy found the photo did not violate Department of Defense or Army

The inquiry concluded that the photo was among several taken in the spur-of-the-moment,
intended to demonstrate “unity” and “pride,” according
to the findings of the inquiry.
The inquiry was commenced two days after the photo was taken on April
26. It depicted a group of 16 African American cadets who organized an
“Old Corps” photo session on the steps of Nininger Hall at
West Point. They were in full cadet dress uniform.

The inquiry stemmed from concerns the photo may have violated a Department
of Defense directive.

Among the findings, a cadet stated she wanted to send the photo to her
mother. “All participants indicated the ‘raised fist’
photograph was intended to display ‘unity, solidarity and pride’
due to the sense of accomplishment resulting from graduating and commissioning
from the United States Military Academy,” the inquiry said.

The officer who conducted the inquiry found that “there was no malintent
among the participants of the photograph, and therefore I find no direct
violation of (a Department of Defense directive).”

The investigator recommended, though, that all participants receive “instruction
designed and implemented by the Simon Center for Professional Military
Excellence” and that it be conducted prior to the May graduation.


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