Two recent West Point graduates were removed from a basic officer leadership course at Fort Benning, Georgia by military officials in front of around 175 classmates yesterday morning. Our source says they're being investigated in relation to more serious charges tied to last spring's West Point rugby scandal regarding team emails loaded with lewd and derogatory remarks about women.
Multiple sources said the junior officers in question are Royce Vessell and Christian Grado, two of the 15 West Point seniors who were basically given a slap on the wrist in June for participating in an email chain that officials called "completely unacceptable" and offensive to women. (It involved glowing reports of a cadet getting his "dick touched by some rando skank" and jokes about female cadets and "black strap ons," among other details.)
They were allowed to graduate on time and start introductory officer training classes at Ft. Benning, a U.S. Army post outside of Columbus, Georgia that supports more than 120,000 active-duty military, family members, reserve component soldier, retirees, and civilian employees on a daily basis, according to a government jobs posting.
But it seems that they're not in the clear yet; according to a source, the investigation is directly linked to the emails and involves more serious allegations.
"The SFC [Sergeant First Class] giving the brief called their names up front and the cops were waiting for them," said a second lieutenant who was in attendance that day. He said one of his friends saw what looked like an arrest take place outside of the room. "I'm sure it was meant to be private, but the stragglers who were late to the brief saw [what happened]."
Ft. Benning spokeswoman Elsie Jackson confirmed that there was an "ongoing investigation," but said no arrests were made. "People see what they want to see," she said, adding that she couldn't comment further at this time.
We were unable to reach Vessell by press time, and Grado didn't respond to requests for comment. Jackson wouldn't confirm which officers were under investigation, but Vessell and Grado are both listed on West Point's rugby roster as 2013 graduates, and all 15 West Point seniors on the team were implicated in last spring's inquest.
We'll post updates when we can. Know anything? Email me.